By Matt Leon
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — After a midseason slump that saw them drop six of nine games, the 17-10 St. Joe’s Hawks have gotten back on track, winning four of five as they get ready to travel down to D.C. to run with George Washington.
Hawks head coach Phil Martelli talks about what’s clicked the last five games that wasn’t their in January.
“I would say the biggest thing that has changed for us from the January doldrums that we had is that we are playing again at a proper pace. We’re getting up and down the floor. We’re not a back-to-the-wall, speed team, but we are able to get up and down the floor. And when we get up and down the floor, it just allows us to play offense and it’s not so much grinding, we are actually playing offense. I find that to be very comforting for our team.”
Listen to KYW’s Matt Leon interview Phil Martelli:
George Washington is just 9-16 this season, but they are coming off a road win at Richmond and in the game before that they gave Temple all they could handle and then some, before losing 79-72 at the Liacouras Center.
“They are a very interesting team, because these are the exact same guys who finished fourth in the league last year,” Martelli says. “We went down there and upset them as a 12-seed in the Atlantic 10 Tournament. They changed coaches, they’ve changed styles. They were a pressing fast break kind of a team, now they play at a more deliberate pace. They mix in a number of zone defenses, 1-3-1, 2-3.”
The Colonials are led by senior point guard Tony Taylor and his 13.6 points a game. He also has a team high 112 assists and Martelli says he is key to the GW attack.
“No question about it. And I think it’s a great, great match-up again for (St. Joe’s junior guard) Carl Jones. Because his defense will be tested. Last week we tested him with (UMass point guard) Chaz Williams, this week we are going to test him with Tony Taylor. And it’s going to be very, very important that he is a significant, not just individual defender, but a team defender.”
Jones is coming off a great performance for the Hawks as he had 28 points, six assists and no turnovers in Wednesday’s win over Rhode Island.
St. Joe’s and George Washington will tip-off at 4:00pm on Saturday at the Smith Center in Washington, D.C.