PHILADELPHIA, PA. 12/17/2017 – It was the men’s turn as the second game of a holiday doubleheader on Hawk Hill. The Hawks sent the crowd home happy as they defeated the Black Bears of Maine 72 – 59.
This is a tough time of year for college athletes. Between final exams and the holidays, they need to get by the distractions. Saint Joseph’s Coach Phil Martelli said he would be the one to help his team through the times.
“It’s proven to be difficult,” said Saint Joseph’s Coach Phil Martelli. “It’s not the finals. It’s campus empty, they want to go home.”
“I lean on me.”
The seniors Shavar Newkirk and James Demery, who both scored 19 points, have been through this and give this advice.
“We are grown men, we know how to differentiate basketball from school,” said Newkirk.
“Stay on top of your work. I get mine out of the way early.”
“I don’t count finals as an excuse because at the end of the day we are grown men and take responsibility off the court as we do on the court,” said Demery.
Despite all the distractions, a big key on the court was the Hawks committed only 3 turnovers, not one player had more than one. To do that Newkirk said “don’t think, just play.” It may just be that easy.
SJU struggled early, but scored 8 straight points late and went into halftime leading 30 – 27. The struggles seemed to be over as Saint Joe’s opened the second half scoring 12 of the first 14 points to establish a lead they never relinquished. Martelli attributes the run to the defensive effort.
“One shot, we rebounded the ball, and we played downhill,” said Martelli.
“We took them out of their offense early,” Newkirk said about the defense in the second half.
Demery recorded his second double-double of the season taking down 10 rebounds. Newkirk had a team-best 4 assists. Taylor Funk scored 10 points. Isaiah White led all scorers with 21 points. Aaron Calixte had 14 for the Black Bears.
Saint Joseph’s (5 – 5) heads to the Basketball Hall of Fame Holiday Showcase to meet St. John’s on Wednesday, then starts Atlantic 10 play at George Washington on December 30. Bottom line: they will have to play better.
“We need to play better, individually better,” Martelli said. “We are not walking out of here saying that was crisp, that was sharp, that was good for the Atlantic 10.”
Written By: Glenn Papazian