The Saint Joseph’s Hawks clinched their first win of the season against the University of Albany Great Danes, defeating them 67-64. The Hawks were led by Freshman Jordan Hall who finished with 13 points, 9 assists, and 4 rebounds. The freshman point forward had a pivotal role in facilitating both the offense and defense for Saint Joe’s.
The University of Albany was led by Graduate Student Jarvis Doles who finished the game with 13 points, 1 assist, and 3 rebounds.
Saint Joe’s found itself with its largest deficit at the 9:10 mark in the second half. The Hawks had to crawl back from an eight point deficit with time running down on the clock. In the end, with the help of Dahmir Bishop and Jordan Hall, Saint Joe’s was able to come back and take the lead to finish with a 67-64 victory.
Albany, Anytime, Anywhere
This game against Albany was a last minute scheduling for Saint Joseph’s. This was also the first matchup against Albany in Saint Joe’s school history. While this last minute matchup had some fans scratching their heads, the game ended up being a blessing in disguise. While Saint Joe’s has many issues it still needs to work out, a hard fought win with a roster this thin will provide some confidence to a team that needs it.
However, this victory should not distract from the problems Saint Joe’s still has to fix. Coach Lange needs to continue to change the offensive style of this team. The Great Danes were able to hold the Hawks to under 30% from beyond three.
In fact, only once this season have the Hawks shot above 35% from three. Even worse, Saint Joe’s has shot under 30% from three five of their nine games. Compare this to the 53% 2p% this team has shot this season. Clearly the skills on the roster benefit inside scoring rather than outside. The question is, can Saint Joe’s improve their half court sets in order to facilitate more of these higher percentage interior shots?
Free Throws, Free Throws, Free Throws
While the stagnated half court offense is concerning, the free throw situation on Hawk Hill is worrisome. The Hawks shot 54% from the free throw line last night. Additionally, in the final four minutes Saint Joe’s missed four free throws on six attempts.
The problem with half court sets is only exacerbated when guys like Ryan Daly and Greg Foster Jr are out on IR. If the offensive woes continue the missed free throws will stand out more and more. They will continue to be highlighted as easy scoring opportunities the Hawks are not capable of capitalizing on.
Free throws are a skill that every player on that team can take ownership in improving. Hopefully Coach Lange can use this opportunity to coach this team up and improve free throw shooting.
A Win is A Win
Saint Joseph’s was able to beat Albany due to contributions from: Jordon Hall, Taylor Funk, and Dahmir Bishop. All three players had a crucial role in helping the team climb back from the second half deficit. Jordon Hall especially has been a major bright spot for the roster as he takes command of this team. His offensive and defensive leadership has increased every game this season as he begins to lead in Ryan Daly’s absence.
Finally, Saint Joseph’s has started to improve. The defensive performance has shown tangible growth game after game. Furthermore, Coach Lange has his team increasing their attack of the lane in an effort to improve their half court sets. This team needs to continue to diversify its scoring away from just three point shooting. Saint Joe’s can still win 6+ conference games as long as they evolve away from being a one dimensional offense.
Fans of Saint Joe’s can hope that this wins helps bring confidence to this roster as it looks to continue A10 play. As the old saying goes, winning is contagious. Maybe Saint Joe’s can translate this win into more.
Saint Joe’s is scheduled to resume conference play against Davidson on 1/12 at 7:00pm.