PHILADELPHIA, PA. 1/19/2013 – The Saint Joseph’s Hawks men’s basketball team entered The Palestra as the home team to meet the University of Pennsylvania Quakers in a Big Five battle. The Hawks were coming off a tough overtime loss at VCU just 48 hours earlier. They left the building with a 79 – 59 bounce back win. Saint Joseph’s understood that to be able to accomplish what they did in this game, they would have to be motivated, play with focus, and not use the VCU game as an excuse to not play well. Martelli boiled it down to one word.
“The second word on our board in bigger letters than any other word was energy,” Martelli said. “We had to bring energy. We couldn’t say we left our energy on Thursday night.”
The Hawks started slow, but as junior guard Langston Galloway and junior forward Ronald Roberts, Jr. heated up, so did Saint Joseph’s. In the second half Galloway scored 14 of his game-high 20 points while Roberts scored 12 of his 16 points. At one point both players combined to score 17 consecutive points to give the Hawks at 20 point lead.
“We knew it would be a quick turnaround and had it in our minds we had to be focused and move on from that tough loss,” said sophomore guard Chris Wilson. “We looked forward to playing today.”
Penn took the early lead on baskets by sophomore forward Henry Brooks. A score by sophomore guard Patrick Lucas-Perry tied the game at 17 with 7:37 to play. The Red and Blue would get only 4 more points in the half, two on a questionable goaltending call, as Saint Joseph’s opened a 32 – 21 halftime lead. Galloway had 6 points on 2 three-pointers in the midst of the 15 – 4 run. The defense forced Penn to miss 8 shots and commit 5 turnovers in that span.
“It’s okay that we struggle to score the ball, but we need to make the other team struggle as well,” said Penn Coach Jerome Allen. “I don’t know if the ball is going to go into the basket or not, but I do know that if we play defense we’ll be fine. We have to do a better job if we are not scoring to keep the same focus on the defensive end.”
In the second half the Hawks broke the game open when Roberts and Galloway combined to go on a 17 – 8 run to put Saint Joseph’s in front by a 57 – 37 score with 9:42 to play. The last points in the Hawk run came on a follow-up dunk by Roberts that forced Penn to call timeout.
Galloway and Roberts posted double-double pulling down 10 and 12 rebounds. Senior guard Carl Jones added 15 points for Saint Joseph’s. For the game Saint Joseph’s made 29 of 54 field goal attempts (53.7%). Penn shot 25 – 65 (38.5%). Freshman center Darius Nelson-Henry tied his career-high with 17 points. No other Quaker scored in double figures.
“The players deserve a lot of credit,” Martelli said. “They energy they put in Thursday night on every play, it could have been deflating. “
Saint Joseph’s improves to 10 – 6 on the season and have a 1 – 1 record in the Big Five. The victory broke a Hawks two-game losing streak against the Red and Blue. The Saint Joe’s players were aware of the streak as Roberts reminded Galloway that they had not won against Penn. Martelli was pleased to see a sold-out Palestra and the size of the Saint Joseph’s rooting section.
“It’s the building, people want to be in this building,” Martelli said.
Penn drops to 3 – 14 and are 0 – 3 in City Series play. The Red and Blue prepare for their final Big Five game of the season against Temple. The Hawks prepare for a matchup against the defending Atlantic 10 champions Saint Bonaventure.
Written By: Glenn Papazian