By Matt Leon
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The St. Joseph’s Hawks will wrap-up a challenging three-game homestand on Saturday night when they host VCU at Hagan Arena.
This homestand started with a big 73-68 win over UMass last Saturday. Then on Wednesday, the Hawks were suffocated by the defense of the #13 team in the country as St. Louis beat them, 65-49.
“St. Louis deserves credit for how well they defended us,” St. Joe’s head coach Phil Martelli tells KYW Newsradio. “They took away a lot of our comfortable sets that we try to run and shots that we wanted to get. But we didn’t play with our normal attitude. We didn’t play with enough confidence and we’re addressing this and can’t go into Saturday’s game with VCU without being full of confidence.”
The Hawks were just 1 of 15 from behind the three-point arc in that loss to the Billikens.
VCU is 19-4 this season (7-1 in the A-10) and they will bring a six-game winning streak into this game. The Rams are another premier defensive team, they force nearly 20 turnovers a game and lead the nation in turnover margin (+7.1)
“We can’t, on paper, match their speed,” Martelli says. “So we’re going to have to really think this game through, make sure that we don’t give them a lot of open court. And at the same time convert, offensively. We have to run better offense, we’ve struggled a bit in that area.”
Last season, VCU won two match-ups with the Hawks. The Rams needed overtime during the regular-season, grabbing a 92-86 decision down in Virginia. Then VCU eliminated St. Joe’s from the A-10 Tournament in Brooklyn, beating them 82-79 in the quarterfinals.
Saturday night’s game at Hagan Arena begins at 8:00pm.
You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattleonkyw.