PHILADELPHIA, PA. 3/1/2017 – The Rhode Island Rams are one of the top defensive teams in the Atlantic 10 and limited the offense of the Saint Joseph’s Hawks as the Hawks fall 68 – 49 on Senior Night at the Hagan Arena. The winless streak for the Saint Joe’s has reached nine games.
“We scored 49 points in a college game,” said Saint Joseph’s Coach Phil Martelli. “You’re not winning.”
Rhode Island led from beginning to end. The Rams give up an average of 66 points per game, and held the Hawks under that by 17 points. Rhode Island held Saint Joe’s to 38% shooting (19 of 50). Turnovers committed by Saint Joseph’s especially early was a factor. In the first half Saint Joe’s had 9 miscues (4 early) that gave Rhody a 14 – 4 edge in points off turnovers. The early part of the game set the tone.
“We turned the ball over four times before the first media timeout,” Martelli said. “It has everything to do with the skill of running, passing, and dribbling the ball. We threw at least three passes into the crowd. We were not in the game. That was a participation, not a competition.”
“They are really aggressive, so you have to be on your p’s and q’s against them, ” said Saint Joseph’s guard James Demery. “We had a lot of turnovers, unforced. We were out thinking the game. Hopefully we learn from this and get better.”
The Hawks stayed somewhat in the neighborhood, but did not seriously threaten. It also did not help that SJU went 9 for 20 from the free throw line, their lowest free throw percentage of the year.
Charlie Brown led SJU with 13 points. He set the record for most three’s by a freshman in program history with 66. His first basket was a three, and his last bucket was from beyond the arc.
Fouling was an issue for the Rams as they committed 22 in the game. Saint Joe’s was in the double bonus within 8 minutes in the second half, but did not make opponent pay for it. E.C. Matthews led the team with 13 points. Hassan Martin had 12 and Kuran Iversen contributed 11 markers.
The Rams are a team on the NCAA Tournament bubble. Wins are important for them, and this was their fourth in a row. They also won on Hawk Hill for the first time in six years. The victory also put URI (20 – 9, 12 – 5) in contention for a seed as high as second the upcoming Atlantic 10 Tournament. There are too many variables right now to explain how.
Saint Joseph’s has one more regular season game left at Duquesne. The Hawks will play in an opening round game of the tournament played in Pittsburgh. Who and when remains to be determined.
Prior to the game Saint Joseph’s honored seniors Brandon Casper, Javon Baumann, and ‘The Hawk’ Timmy Parks in their final home game.
“They had two championships in four years,” Martelli said about his seniors. “They are leaving as champions. They got two Atlantic 10 rings. Job well done.”
Written By: Glenn Papazian