PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The St. Joe’s Hawks have already turned some heads this season with their impressive play, and they haven’t even played their home opener yet. That comes on Saturday as the Hawks host Penn State at Hagan Arena.
St. Joe’s is 3-2 with a road win over Western Kentucky, and neutral court victories over Georgia Tech and Tulsa to their credit. Last time out they lost a heart-breaker, falling at 3-1 Iona 104-99 in double overtime.
Hawks head coach Phil Martelli says they had their chances to win that game.
Listen to Matt Leon’s interview with coach Phil Martelli:
“There were certainly a number of things that we took out of viewing the tape with the players that can be, and will be, improved upon.”
So now the Hawks turn their attention to the Nittany Lions, who come to town with a 5-1 record that Martelli says they have earned.
“They really are fully committed defensively. Very, very energetic. They play eight guys, sometimes nine. But all the guys play with the same amount of energy, the same amount of passion, defensively. They are a remarkable team in that 42% of their shots come from the three-point line. They play off of a wonderful point guard by the name of Tim Frazier, who is the only returning starter.”
So, perimeter defense will be a key in this one, but Martelli says that’s only part of the story.
“First, you have to contain the ball, you have to keep Frazier out of the lane and out of the cracks of your defense, because what he will do is get in there and just start firing the ball around. And they have five or six guys, who well over 60-65% of their shots are three-pointers. So, you really can’t crash that lane in terms of typical ball responsibility defense, or help responsibility defense. And then, when (Frazier) kicks it out, you have to close out beyond the line. Then know that there is going to be long rebounds.”
Tipoff on Saturday at Hagan Arena is set for 3:30 p.m.
Reported by Matt Leon, KYW Newsradio 1060