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Saint Joseph’s Hawks Upset By Fairfield: Recap and Analysis

In Hagan Arena, on saturday afternoon, a crowd filled with excited fans expecting the Saint Joseph’s Hawks (5-4) to squash a vast underdog, the Fairfield Stags (8-5). This was not the case, as the Hawks were stunned at home, falling 60-57.

Roberts was the only Hawks who showed up to play today.

The Stags jumped out to an early 8-4 advantage, but when Ronald Roberts scored on a breakaway dunk and C.J. Aiken (13 points, 4 blocks) rejected a Fairfield shot eight rows back in the stands it looked as if the tide  had turned. This was not to be, as senior guard Derek Needham drained a three and gave momentum to the road underdogs.

Needham was unstoppable for the Stags as he dropped 24 points, four of which came with under thirty seconds to put the Stags up by four. He drew the attention of the Hawks every time down the floor, and this left the Hawks vulnerable from all angles.

The intensity and tenacity of St. Joe’s was not there today; this might have been because senior point guard Carl Jones was not at the top of his game, but they never seemed to be in the game. Right from the tip the Hawks seemed slower than usual, and even after a couple of consecutive dunks in the first half by Roberts, they did not get energized. His 19 points and 11 rebounds are the only thing that kept this game close throughout.

The Hawks offense seemed to be at a standstill today, as junior forward Halil Kanacevic was suspended two games due to last weeks incident against Villanova. His presence was missed, as the offense goes through him most of the time. Kanacevic averages 8.1 points, 7.6 rebounds and 3.6 assists, good enough for second on the team. His impact is felt on the court, and now for the next game against Iona he needs to learn how to lead not through actions, but through his voice.

The offense was not the only thing that the Hawks missed from Halil; they also could have used his rebounding ability. The athletic duo of Ronald Roberts and C.J. Aiken should be capable of grabbing all rebounds against a team that is not a athletic as them. Instead, they gave a team of that caliber too many chances to make easy put-back baskets. This caught up to them in the end when the Stags used late offensive rebounds to put the Hawks away.

St. Joe’s needs to someone to step up and be a leader for them, or else this team will fall short of what they are capable of. Ranked No. 22 in the preseason poll, four losses, including two bad ones in a row, have pushed this team far from the AP Top 25.

Coach Phil Martelli need to find a way to bring the Hawks up to the potential that was seen in them this preseason. They will need to use this Christmas holiday to find a way to get back on track for their next game against Iona on December 28th.

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Categories: CBB, Saint Joseph's

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