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Hawks Suffer Tough Loss to No. 14 Butler: Recap and Analysis

In a sold out crowd at Hagan Arena a classic A-10 conference matchup was played between the (8-5) St. Josephs Hawks and the (13-2) Butler Bulldogs. The crowd was pumped and ready to see the Hawks live up to their preseason potential and upset a talented Butler team. This was not the case as the Bulldogs had a response to everything the Hawks put forth.

Wilson had a big game with five three-pointers.

The Hawks jumped out to an early lead thanks to Sophomore Guard Chris Wilson coming up big, nailing 4-three pointers before the first media timeout. This did not phase Butler as they clawed their way back into the game and eventually were down only 5 at the half, trailing 40-35.

The second half was a different story for the Hawks; it brought back terrible memories from last year’s season, as they came out slow and Butler jumped out on a 9-0 run to open the half. This was the turning point in the game and from that point forward St. Joe’s had to play from behind.

They did not give up, however, and were down only 4 with 25 seconds left to play when they showed how little they have matured over the las couple of years. They dribbled down the court needing a two point basket and planning on fouling when they put up three 3’s in a row before time expired. Some of these were open shots that needed to be taken, but there were other bonehead mistakes down the home stretch that eventually killed the Hawks.

The Hawks outplayed Butler as a team, but that was not enough as two players for the Bulldogs controlled the entire game. Senior Andrew Smith was a force in the paint, dropping 24 points and collecting 10 boards. Another Senior Rontei Clarke had 28 points, and showed that he has ice running through his veins late in the second half. These two seniors caused a matchup issue no matter who they were up against.

On the bright side the Hawks played their best all around game of the season, but this was all in vein. The Bulldogs had the Hawks number and every run was squashed down no matter how convincing and how momentous it seemed to be.

Player of the Game: C.J. Aiken

C.J. Aiken earned MVP honors for the Hawks tonight with 13 points, 7 boards, and 3 blocks. He showed that he has grown to be willing to be a force on both sides of the court. He has always had the ability to block shots like no other, but his rebounding ability and his thirst to do the dirty work for St. Joes can only help the Hawks in the Future.

Even with C.J. playing well these past couple of games the Hawks have a lot of work to do. They need to think of a way to close out game and keep a lead. If keep playing like they are now, they will struggle to make even the A-10 tournament. This should be a wake-up call for the Hawks that if they can’t win like they are playing now, with a home crowd filled to the brim with excitement, then they are doing something wrong. If they don’t then “The Hawk Will Never Die” chant will have a sad ring to it, as it did tonight.

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Categories: CBB, Saint Joseph's

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