By Matt Leon
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The St. Joseph’s Hawks will look to get back on the winning track Saturday, but it won’t be easy as they travel down to Virginia to visit No. 20 VCU in an Atlantic 10 match-up.
The Hawks have dropped three straight to fall to 6-7 (0-2 in the A-10). Last time out on Wednesday, the Hawks lost on the road at Duquesne, 71-68.
“I know what we need to work on,” St. Joe’s head coach Phil Martelli tells KYW Newsradio. “We’re going to continue to do that. Unfortunately, it hasn’t changed really from the summer. When I evaluated the team not even having had any practice time with them, I thought that we would be a team that would struggle to score, we have. I thought that we would be a team that could press on just about every possession, we’ve been able to do that, but we’ve been a little bit reluctant to push that envelope as far as we can push it. I know what I have. A lot of times when you stare at your record and you say, ‘Boy you’re 6-7 and 0-2 in the league. Is this the bottom?’ And I hope that it is, but we do really have to improve and we have to improve quickly.”
Listen to Phil Martelli with KYW’s Matt Leon:
VCU will bring a 12-3 record into Saturday’s game and the Rams are 2-0 in A-10 play.
“They have really, really good players,” Martelli says. “They have recruited to their system in an outstanding way. (Head coach) Shaka Smart and his staff deserve a lot of credit. They challenge you. The atmosphere will be very challenging, it’s a very loud building, a very aggressive crowd – not in a negative way – they’re rooting for their team.”
Martelli says this will be a real challenge for his team.
“We have a team with fragile egos right now having three straight losses, two in the league, and going to a powerhouse,” Martelli says. “When we’ve done that earlier in the year at Gonzaga and at Villanova, we have not fared very well.”
The Hawks lost to Gonzaga, 94-42 and fell to Villanova, 74-46.
Saturday’s game in Richmond gets underway at 2:00pm.
You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattleonkyw.
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