St. Joe's does this for 1st time in 39 years

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St. Joe's does this for 1st time in 39 years

BOX SCORE

KINGSTON, R.I. -- The party was four nights ago -- when Rhode Island celebrated its first outright Atlantic 10 title in school history.

One game later, it was completely wiped away by a miserable performance.

James Demery scored 21 points, Taylor Funk had 17 and Saint Joseph's stunned No. 17 Rhode Island 78-48 on Tuesday night.

"The other night with the ceremony, I think that we maybe for a couple of days were taking victory laps," URI coach Dan Hurley said. "You can't do that. You can't do that in sports, especially when you have a ranking next to your name -- with people coming at you hard."

Shavar Newkirk added 14 points for the Hawks (14-15, 9-8 A 10), who posted their first true road victory over a ranked team since beating No. 15 Georgetown on Jan. 2, 1979.

Jared Terrell scored 19 points with seven rebounds and E.C. Matthews had 13 points for Rhode Island (23-5, 15-2). It was the Rams' second loss in four games after a school record 16-game winning streak.

"We've got to take responsibility," Matthews said. "This could be a good lesson that we've got to go about it the right way."

URI shot just 28.1 percent in the game.

Taking their home court again for the first time after they clinched their first outright A-10 title in school history and edged up a spot in this week's AP poll, the Rams came out ice cold from the field, missing 25 of their 31 shots in the opening half.

"I did not have these guys emotionally ready to play on Senior Night and that's on me," Hurley said. "It was an epically bad shooting performance."

Saint Joseph's led 35-16 at halftime.

The Hawks came into the night ranked 313th in the nation in 3-point field goal percentage at just 32 percent, but they hit their first four and opened a 13-point lead just before the second media timeout. URI went 4 for 24 from the field in the opening 14 minutes.

Saint Joseph's closed the half by scoring nine of the final 11 points.

Playing mostly zone, the Hawks seemed to keep the Rams from getting into any offensive rhythm. URI's many missed shots didn't help either.

"I'll be honest with you -- I feel for Danny and Rhode Island," Hawks coach Phil Martelli said. "We've been the top dog in this league -- twice in 2014 and 2016 and we lost on Senior Day to a team that really man-for-man couldn't measure up."

Saint Joseph's scored eight of the initial 11 points in the second half, pulling to a 43-19 lead on Chris Clover's driving basket with 16:17 to play. They pushed it to 54-21 on Demery's fastbreak jam after the Hawks outhustled URI to a loose ball at midcourt.

On Friday night, the Ryan Center was rocking and filled with blue and white - the school's colors - confetti and streamers and they were cutting down a net, but the Rams were unable to find any success offensively in the second half, too, spoiling their bid for a perfect 16-0 record at home this season.

Big picture
Saint Joseph's: For a school looking for any type of postseason tournament berth, the Hawks needed a resume-builder and a solid run at the conference tourney next week. This was the first step.

Rhode Island: The Rams were trending upward for a solid seed in their probable NCAA tourney invitation, but this loss may hurt their national recognition.

Watch and learn
Hurley said they'll watch the film of the loss.

"We'll watch this tomorrow and we're going to own it as players and coaches," he said.

Emotional night
Hurley wiped away tears during Senior Night festivities.

Three of the seniors honored -- Matthews, Terrell and Jarvis Garrett -- can set the school mark for most wins in a four-year span with three more victories.

In 2011, Marquise Jones, Will Martell, Ben Eaves and Delroy James completed their collegiate careers with 90 victories.

Two other seniors, Stanford Robinson and Andre Berry -- both transfers -- also played their final home game.

Up next
Saint Joseph's: Closes its regular season at home Saturday against La Salle.

Rhode Island: Plays its regular season finale at Davidson on Friday.

Phil Martelli accepts assistant coaching position at Michigan

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Phil Martelli accepts assistant coaching position at Michigan

Phil Martelli will be joining Juwan Howard's staff as an assistant coach at the University of Michigan.

The 64-year-old Martelli was head coach at Saint Joseph's for 24 years before being fired on March 19. He was named the AP Coach of the Year in 2004 after leading St. Joe's to an undefeated regular season and an appearance in the Elite Eight. St. Joe's had a 444-328 record during Martelli's tenure.

Martelli became an iconic fixture of the Big Five, and of the basketball scene in Philadelphia. He left an enduring legacy off the court as well, including through his work with Coaches vs. Cancer. 

At the time of his firing, Martelli issued a statement acknowledging the "pain and the numbness" he felt after being let go. 

Billy Lange left his job as an assistant with the Sixers in March to take Martelli's old role. 

This will be Martelli's first assistant job since 1995 when he took over as head coach at St. Joe's after 10 seasons as an assistant. 

Howard, a member of Michigan's "Fab Five," was introduced Thursday at an emotional press conference. He played 19 NBA seasons before transitioning to coaching.

Phil Martelli out as St. Joe's head coach after 24 years

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Phil Martelli out as St. Joe's head coach after 24 years

It's the end of an era on Hawk Hill. After 24 seasons, Phil Martelli is out as the men's basketball coach at St. Joseph's University. 

The Hawks finished the 2018-19 season with a 14-19 record, losing in the Atlantic 10 Tournament quarterfinals last Friday in Brooklyn.

"Following a comprehensive review of the men's basketball program, I have decided to make a change in the leadership of the program. The decision was not an easy one, but I believe it is the right one - for both the men's basketball program and the institution as a whole," St. Joseph's athletics director Jill Bodensteiner said in a statement Tuesday morning.

Martelli took over as St. Joseph's head coach in 1995. He compiled a 444-328 record in 24 seasons and won six A-10 regular season championships, three A-10 Tournament titles and guided the Hawks to seven NCAA Tournament appearances. He is the winningest coach at a school known for producing coaching legends such as Jack Ramsey and Jim Lynam. However the St. Joseph's program slipped in recent years. Following a 28-win season in 2016, the Hawks had a 41-55 record over the last three years. 

Martelli led St. Joseph's on a tremendous five-year run from 2000-05, winning five straight A-10 regular season championships and appearing in three NCAA Tournaments over that span.  The 2004 season was the high point. Led by national player of the year Jameer Nelson, the Hawks completed a perfect 27-0 regular season and advanced to the Elite Eight before losing to Oklahoma State in the final seconds. Martelli was named the national coach of the year following that 2004 season. But the Hawks have won just one NCAA Tournament game since 2004.

"Basketball is an important strategic asset for the University," said Bodensteiner in her statement. "We have a storied history, and we move forward with the desire and intent to build upon that history, develop a sustained and consistent culture of excellence, and compete for NCAA tournament appearances and conference championships every year." Martelli's dismissal comes during a changing of the guard across the Big 5. Temple's Fran Dunphy will step down at the end of this season following 30 years as a head coach at Temple and Penn. Ashley Howard just completed his first season at La Salle.