By Ed Benkin
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Winning on the road brings success to college basketball teams, so it’s no surprise to see plenty of success at St. Joseph’s these days.
The red-hot Hawks have won 16 of their last 19 games and will look for another victory on the road Saturday at St. Bonaventure. The Hawks have also won five of their last six contests away from home, and Head Coach Phil Martelli knew winning on the road would be a key to his team’s success.
“I’ve been saying it all year long,” said Martelli. “The difference was going to be who wins on the road. Let’s get that to play out by getting this one and then the one on Wednesday.”
The Hawks are 20-7, while the Bonnies are 16-12. However, St. Bonaventure has traditionally been one of the toughest places to win at in the Atlantic 10 Conference. Senior Guard Langston Galloway expects another rowdy welcome from the Bonnies fans.
“They’re a good team at home,” Galloway said. “They’re crowd is one of the best at home. We went there my sophomore year. We had it won, then they just found a way to win. Their crowd definitely keeps them in the game.”
The Hawks have three games remaining in the regular season. After playing St. Bonaventure, St. Joseph’s will be at George Washington before hosting city-rival LaSalle on March 9th. A strong finish could cement an NCAA Tournament birth as well as a bye in the Atlantic 10 Tournament. However, Junior Guard Chris Wilson knows the Hawks can’t look too far ahead.
“We’re really just focused in on winning the next game,” said Wilson. “You see the ultimate goal. In order to get to the ultimate goal, you have to win the next game, so we’re not so obsessed with the big picture.”
Martelli is happy with his team’s approach to the stretch drive, and knows they will have to be ready when they take the floor at St. Bonaventure.
“The crowd is right on top of you as it is in Hagan Arena,” Martelli said. “They’re very boisterous. You have to be alert and you have to understand that you’re on the road and who you have to count on is to your left and to your right. It’s not in the stands.”
The Bonnies have won the last three meetings between the two schools. Before the last three meetings, the Hawks had taken 17 of 18 from St. Bonaventure.