By Matt Leon
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The St. Joe’s Hawks will welcome the #21 team in the land to Hagan Arena on Saturday night in the Minutemen of UMass.
The Hawks are 14-6 this season (4-2 in the Atlantic 10) and they are coming off a 60-57 win over Dayton on Wednesday night. They actually needed some late game heroics from Langston Galloway to win at University of Dayton Arena for the first time since 2001, as the senior guard banked in a tie-breaking three with less than two seconds left.
“We wanted to try to get Langston Galloway on a play where he could turn the corner and have an option of either taking the ball up to the rim aggressively or being able to pull-up,” St. Joe’s head coach Phil Martelli tells KYW Newsradio. “A great screen by Papa Ndao, he read it real well, and he raised up confidently. Now, I’m not saying he thought that he was going to bank it in or decided to bank it in. But he raised up confidently and good things happen to good people and certainly Langston is on the top of the list of good people.”
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The Hawks and Minutemen have already met once this season up at the Mullins Center in Amherst, UMass grabbing a 66-62 win over St. Joe’s on January 8th. In that game, the Minutemen rallied late to earn the win behind 22 points and 4 assists from their outstanding senior guard Chaz Williams.
“He can dominate the game,” Martelli says. “He did that to us up there and kind of willed that team to victory. But they expect to win and that is healthy to see, it’s healthy to emulate and that’s what we’re going to try to do for 40 minutes on Saturday night at Hagan Arena.”
While Williams grabs a lot of the headlines for this UMass team, Martelli says he is by no means doing it alone.
“They’ve gotten to this point of 17-3 because they play with great confidence across the board,” Martelli says. “They have tremendous size. Raphiael Putney is probably 6’9″ or 6’10” and he plays a small forward for them. They are very aggressive off the backboard and their offensive numbers can be scary.”
Including that January 8th game, St. Joe’s has lost six of its last eight meetings with the Minutemen.
Tip-off on Saturday night at Hagan Arena is set for 6:00pm.
You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattleonkyw.