By Matt Leon
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Basketball fans on Hawk Hill are anxiously awaiting Wednesday night, when St. Joe’s plays its 2013-14 home opener, hosting Marist.
The Hawks opened the season in style on Saturday night as they traveled up to New England and beat the University of Vermont, 74-64.
“I was especially pleased for the players,” St. Joe’s head coach Phil Martelli tells KYW Newsradio. “To go on the road, five seniors returning for Vermont, a team that played in the postseason last year (College Basketball Invitational), come out of the box and shoot 65% in the first half, and then withstand a great Vermont run. We did not run particularly good offense in the second half (shot 27% from field) and we came away with a good win. Hopefully, the players (are) feeling good about themselves, and we have a lot to practice. Which is a good thing.”
The Hawks went 18-14 last season, losing to St. John’s in the opening round of the NIT. Three of their top five scorers are back in senior guard Langston Galloway (21 points against Vermont) and senior forwards Ronald Roberts Jr (21 points, 9 rebounds against Vermont) and Halil Kanacevic.
“The key for our season is really this day and this day alone,” Martelli says. “We have to improve. We have to have players improve across the board. We have to improve them physically, mentally. College basketball is dictated so much by guard play, we’re going to need real good guard play. We’re going to need our bench to stay engaged, and to almost force my hand to play them more and more. Added depth will allow our starters, who are all very good players, a chance to get proper rest and be playing their best basketball come what we hope is an early spring in Philadelphia.”