Saint Joseph’s, as expected, won its opener at home despite 11 turnovers and poor shooting performances from both the field and the free throw line. The Hawks were led by captain Langston Galloway who scored 20 points on six of nine shooting including two of four from behind the arc.
Juniors Halil Kanacevic and Ron Roberts each had double-doubles but Kanacevic had five turnovers and Roberts only shot 3-12 from the floor. The team shot a putrid (or “deplorable”, as Phil Martelli called it) 16-30 from the free throw line headlined by a 1-5 night from point guard Chris Wilson who filled in for Tay Jones. CJ Aiken had three blocks but also committed four rare fouls and was delegated to the bench for much of the game. He finished with 8 points and three rebounds.
Without lone senior and starting point guard Jones, Saint Joseph’s struggled in the half-court offense and looked lost at times. It was Yale’s 25% shooting that kept SJU’s lead sizeable throughout the game. The Hawks larger lineup, while inefficient at times, was too much for Yale to handle as the Hawks collected five blocks and out-rebounded the Bulldogs 39 to 29. Defensively, the Hawks looked dominant against a rebuilding Yale team that launched 25 3-pointers and only made 6. Saint Joseph’s stingy defense also forced 20 turnovers.
Saint Joseph’s will now face #22 Notre Dame in Brooklyn at the new Barclays Center. They will most likely have to step up their collective game against a superior team after appearing to go through the motions and shake off the rust in much of their opener.