By Matt Leon

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The surging St. Joseph’s Hawks will be back at Hagan Arena on Saturday to host Fordham.

The Hawks are now 18-7 this season and 8-3 in the Atlantic 10 after outlasting Rhode Island, 57-54, on Wednesday up in Kingston. The Hawks sweep the season series from the Rams, but they win the two games by a total of just seven points.

“They deserve tremendous credit,” St. Joe’s head coach Phil Martelli tells KYW Newsradio. Wonderful, wonderful competes. We were able to win both game because of our age and a burning desire within this group, to make sure that we are successful. So I have great appreciation for how they played the game, but I also have great appreciation for how my players chased victory.”

The Hawks have now won three straight are tied for second in the Atlantic 10 as they chase a first round bye in the conference tournament (top four get one). St. Joe’s has five regular season games remaining beginning with Saturday’s match-up with 9-15 Fordham.

“Fordham is a high scoring team,” Martelli says. “They have the first and (third) leading scorers in the Atlantic 10. (Guard) Jon Severe’s a freshman, averaging 19 points a game. (Guard) Branden Frazier is a senior (18.2 ppg), both guys take you on the dribble. We’re going to be challenged. DeAndre’ Bembry, Langston Galloway and Chris Wilson are going to be challenged to guard the dribble, which we have not done a great job of this year. Then we’re going to be forced to make some shots, because I do anticipate that we’ll see a number of zone defense possessions from Fordham.”

St. Joe’s has won eight straight games against Fordham.

Saturday’s game will tip-off at 2:00pm.

You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattleonkyw.