By Matt Leon
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – After dismissing Charlotte in the first round of the A-10 Tournament on Tuesday, 80-64, the St. Joe’s Hawks now head to Atlantic City for a match-up with St. Bonaventure in the quarterfinals on Friday afternoon.
St. Joe’s placed five players in double figures in the win over the 49ers with Carl Jones leading the way with 23 points. Needless to say, head coach Phil Martelli is very happy to still be standing.
“The thing that I like is that we were able to get the nervousness of postseason play out of the way. We can now look forward to St. Bonaventure and say, ‘Okay, we’ve been there, done that’ with regard to Atlantic 10 tournament play. We did it at Hagan Arena, we had terrific turn out from students even though we were on spring break. I thought our players were properly excited, little bit of nervousness, little bit of anxiousness, and I think that had to do with tournament play number one, and the fact that Charlotte had come into Hagan Arena in January and beaten us.”
Now the Hawks get a Bonnies team that, as the four seed, had a first round bye. It’s also a Bonnies team that helped kill St. Joe’s hopes of earning their own first round bye. St. Bonaventure beat the Hawks in double overtime, 98-93, back on February 29th. In that game the Atlantic 10 Player of the Year, Bonnies forward Andrew Nicholson, was huge. He finished with 32 points and 14 rebounds and Martelli talks about how they can try and prevent a repeat performance by the 6’9″ senior.
“What we’re going to try and concentrate on is taking away some of his options. We have to defend the ball better than we did in Olean (NY). They put the ball where he wanted it, and you’re not going to stop him. This young guy shoots almost 60%.
“One of the things that we want to make sure is we don’t want him to go completely crazy against us and ring up a career night of 38, 40, 42 points or something like that. But at the same time we want to eliminate their other double figure scorers. A young man named (junior forward) Demitrius Conger has had a really nice year. They have a kid named (sophomore guard) Matt Wright, (he) hurt us with the three point shot.”
Listen to KYW’s Matt Leon’s interview with Phil Martelli:
Wright hit three threes in that win over the Hawks.
St. Joe’s and St. Bonaventure will be the second of Friday’s four games at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City. Tip-off is set for approximately 2:30pm.