By Matt Leon

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The St. Joseph’s Hawks will return from a week off on Saturday when they visit Gola Arena to take on La Salle in Atlantic 10 action.

The Hawks haven’t played since last Saturday when they got a huge win over VCU, 69-62, at Hagan Arena. Their head coach thinks the break came at a great time.

File photo. (Photo by Chris Chambers/Getty Images)

File photo. (Photo by Chris Chambers/Getty Images)

“When we go back and look at the stretch we had, at Dayton (60-57 win on 1/29), UMass at home (73-68 win on 2/1), St. Louis at home (65-49 loss on 2/5) and VCU at home,” Phil Martelli tells KYW Newsradio. “Not only was it a physical challenge, but also a mental challenge. Incorporating school and dodging the snowflakes, so to speak, really a challenging time for these guys physically and mentally. So to take time off and kind of get recharged for these last seven games, has been invaluable.”

The Hawks sit at 16-7 on the season and they are 6-3 in the Atlantic 10, which leaves them tied for fourth in the conference.

La Salle is desperate for a win. The 12-11 Explorers have lost five of six, including a couple of heartbreakers to St. Louis and VCU.

“La Salle has gotten off the mat here a couple of times,” Martelli says. “Some really tough defeats. Great, great competition in terms of how they played against VCU and how they played against St. Louis at home. And I think that when you can call on the wonderful run that they had last year to the Sweet 16, and when you can play through who is arguably one of the best point guards in our league in Tyreek Duren, they’re going to play good basketball.”

This game will not count towards the Big 5 standings. Their rematch on March 9th at Hagan Arena is their City Series match-up.

Saturday’s game tips off at 11:00am at Gola Arena.

You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattleonkyw.