St. Joe's doesn't 'man it up,' shows immaturity in loss to Davidson

St. Joe's doesn't 'man it up,' shows immaturity in loss to Davidson


Saint Joseph’s was hit in the mouth by Davidson’s offensive assault Tuesday night. Phil Martelli felt there was a more appropriate way of describing his team’s inability to combat Davidson’s dominance in the Hawks' 75-60 loss at Hagan Arena (see Instant Replay).

“It’s inexcusable,” Martelli said of St. Joe's offensive performance. “The layups and the foul shooting. I’ve always said missing a layup is not two points. It hits you like it’s a bat — and we missed seven dead ones.

“We didn’t give ourselves a chance, we paced [poorly]. We had two really good days of practice and played a lousy pace of game.”   

Davidson’s Peyton Aldridge was the Hawks' worst nightmare and the reason why they never led once in the game. There were a brief 12 seconds — the first 12 of the game — when the score was tied. Aldridge was literally perfect from everywhere in the first half. He was 7 of 7 from the field, 2 for 2 from beyond the arc and 4 of 4 at the free throw line. He finished his first half with 20 points and six rebounds.

St. Joe's (10-11, 3-6 A-10) only player capable of stopping the 6-foot-8 buzzsaw was not at full strength. James Demery, 6-foot-6 and averaging a team-best 7.1 rebounds, had been under the weather leading up to game day.

“Not an excuse, just a fact James has been sick for two days,” Martelli said. “That’s why I yo-yoed him in there a little bit. And he was our chance to guard Aldridge. [Demery] just didn’t have it and didn’t do a very good job in the first half anyway."

Demery played a season-low 18 minutes while posting just five points and four rebounds.

Meanwhile, Wildcats leading scorer Jack Gibbs was held to single digits for the first time all season. The senior guard, apparently a bit hampered, came in averaging 22.7 points per game, good for ninth best in the country.

But his quiet night didn't matter.

"They had an injured Gibbs and we let two guys go over their scoring averages in Jon Axel (Gudmundsson) and (Will) Magarity," Martelli said. "But Aldridge, that’s what an all-league player looks like and that’s what an all-league player does.”

Aldridge finished with a double-double of 31 points and 13 rebounds — all of those boards came on the defensive end. Axel and Magarity finished their nights with 13 and 14 points, respectively.

As for Demery, it was evident that he was truly not himself. The junior, scoring 14.5 points per night, was coming off a game against La Salle in which he posted a double-double (13 points, 10 rebounds). Then again, he usually plays the majority of each game and couldn't play half of Tuesday's.

St. Joe's fell victim to a slow start and early 17-8 deficit. Nine points is not impossible to come back from but the Hawks lacked a premier scorer to take control. They trimmed Davidson's (12-8, 5-4 A-10) lead to 20-14 midway through the first half, but the Wildcats countered with a 17-6 run.

“The middle part there where it was maybe eight [points] and we had a couple possessions, that’s when it would have [been the time to capitalize],” Martelli said. “Their M.O. is you can get back [in games against them]. And I was checking with the coaches as we were going and saying, 'Well, we are OK here.'

“Seventy-five is not our number. And we have to be exact here. Some of these games we come out with turnovers and not enough shots. This game, we came out with 61 shots. But God bless us, just shoot a layup.”

St. Joe's went on a 9-2 run with time winding down in the first half. It started with a free throw followed by a Charlie Brown three-pointer, and ended with a Lamarr Kimble three. That momentum put the Hawks within 10 points at the 1:28 mark and going into halftime.

The momentum, however, did not translate in the second half. Overall, St. Joe's was outscored in the paint, 38-28, and left 10 points at the free throw line, going 15 for 25.

Martelli, set to receive the “Good Guy” award from the Philadelphia Sports Writers Association this week, tried to be diplomatically critical.

“What I have been saying all year is this team is immature,” he said. “It’s not a mean way. It’s just an immature team. So those [missed] layups, [the boys'] feelings get hurt. Or a play is not there, they want to explain it [to me]. I don’t mean this in a negative way, we just weren’t manly enough. I’m not knocking them. We just didn’t man it up.”

Villanova, Penn with polar opposite NCAA Tournament draws

Villanova, Penn with polar opposite NCAA Tournament draws

No surprises on the Main Line and well, the Quakers have quite the hill to climb to advance.

Villanova on Sunday night was awarded the 1-seed in the East Region and will face the winner of the LIU Brooklyn/Radford game Thursday in Pittsburgh. Tip-off is scheduled for 6:50 p.m. on TNT.

The Wildcats have been a top-two seed since 2014 and it's the second straight year they're a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Villanova was the No. 1 overall seed in last year's tournament.

Penn was named the 16th seed in the Midwest Region and will face the No. 1-seeded Kansas Jayhawks on Thursday at 2 p.m. on TBS in Wichita, Kansas.

Steve Donahue has the Quakers back in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2007 in his third season as Penn's head coach.

The Quakers are 24-8 and this will be their 24th-ever appearance in the tournament.

'Nova survived a scare from Providence on Saturday night to win its second straight Big East title and its third in the past four years.

If the Wildcats beat LIU Brooklyn/Radford, they'll face the winner of the No. 8-seeded Virginia Tech and No. 9 seed Alabama. Purdue is the No. 2 seed in the East.

Also in the East are No. 3 Texas Tech and No. 4 Wichita State.

Penn aims to end 11-year drought this weekend

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Penn aims to end 11-year drought this weekend

NBC Sports Philadelphia anchor/reporter Amy Fadool and senior producer Sean Kane get you set for all the weekend's local college basketball games with Fastbreak Friday. With the regular season ending this weekend, this will be the final Fastbreak Friday column of the season.

Temple (16-13, 8-9 AAC) at Tulsa (18-11, 11-6 AAC), Sunday at 3 p.m.
 It’s been a rough season for the Temple Owls. Yes, there was that win over ranked Wichita State in the middle of a 5-game win streak. But after the stumbles down the stretch, that seems like a distant memory. 

Of course, the bad can be washed away with an AAC tournament run, but first, the Owls need to close out on the road against Tulsa. 

Given their track record on the road, things don’t line up well for Fran Dunphy’s crew. Plus, it’s dollar dog, dollar soda and dollar popcorn night at Tulsa. That’s a delicious trifecta. 

But there is still some fight in this team. Quintin Rose and Shizz Alston have been everything the Owls have needed, and throw in Nate Pierre-Louis and you have a nice core back for next season.

Temple 71,  Tulsa 70

Pennsylvania (21-7, 11-1 Ivy) at Yale (14-14, 7-5 Ivy), Friday at 7 p.m.
Pennsylvania (21-7, 11-1 Ivy) at Brown (11-14, 4-8 Ivy), Saturday at 6 p.m.
Penn enters the final weekend of the regular season in control of its own destiny. If the Quakers beat Yale and Brown on the road they'll win their first Ivy League championship since 2007 and earn the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament, which will be played at the Palestra next weekend. It all adds up to Penn having the inside track to return to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 11 years.

This seems like an appropriate time to salute the job done by head coach Steve Donahue. In just his third season at Penn, he has the Quakers poised to reclaim top billing in the Ivy League. He inherited a team that finished 9-19 in the 2014-2015 season and promptly began a swift rebuilding project. Penn went 11-17 in Donahue's first season, 13-14 in his second year, and now stand at 21-7 overall and 11-1 in conference play. Look for those winning ways to continue this weekend and for Donahue and company to do some celebrating.

Penn 73, Yale 66
Penn 69, Brown 60

La Salle (13-17, 7-10 A-10) at St. Joseph's (14-15, 9-8 A-10), Saturday at 2 p.m.
La Salle and St. Joe's will each try to keep the good times rolling heading into next week's A-10 Tournament. La Salle has won three of its last four games, including a convincing 18-point win over Dayton earlier this week. St. Joseph's meanwhile has a 5-1 record in its last six games and just recorded arguably one of the most stunning victories of this college basketball season.

The Hawks went on the road and beat No. 18 Rhode Island, 78-48, on Tuesday, spoiling the Rams' senior night in the process. It was the first road win over a ranked team for St. Joseph's since 1979 and it came in shockingly easy fashion. I expect the Hawks to build on that momentum this weekend and avenge a three-point loss to La Salle earlier this season.

St. Joseph's 74, La Salle 68 

Drexel (12-19, 6-12 CAA) at James Madison (10-21, 6-12 CAA), Saturday at 4 p.m. in first round of CAA Tournament
The Dragons' season has been marked with highs and lows. While it may seem like a marginal improvement — with 12 wins to their credit compared to nine last season — they did double their conference win total. 

Also, Drexel beat the top two teams in the CAA this season as well as set an NCAA Division-I record for the largest comeback ever when they erased a 34-point deficit against Delaware. 

But the Dragons did have two separate losing streaks that would cause any coach to lose sleep, one of five straight and the other of four straight losses. 

Drexel begins the quest for its first-ever CAA tournament title against JMU, then Charleston awaits on basically home turf. Go ahead and make it a baker’s dozen, Dragons. 

Drexel 76, JMU 74

Prediction Records
Sean Kane: 30-11
Amy Fadool: 22-21