Hawks struggle, eventually overcome St. Bonaventure

It wasn’t for the faint of heart today at the Hagan Arena, but when it refs’ whistles finally stopped, St. Joe’s emerged with a 78-71 win over St. Bonaventure.

Darrin Govens led the Hawks with 22 points, while Idris Hilliard chipped in 19 and Garrett Williamson had 16. Carl Jones also added nine off the bench.

“I thought we did a really nice job defensively understanding where they were coming from, and trying to attack,” said St. Joe’s head coach Phil Martelli.

Jonathan Hall led the Bonnies with a game-high 24 points and also added 11 rebounds. Andrew Nicholson chipped in 19 points and nine boards, while Chris Matthews scored 10 points. Both Nicholson and Matthews, along with fellow starter Ogo Adegboye, fouled out.

It was a ragged and choppy game on both sides with mistakes abound. The Bonnies finished with 23 turnovers and just nine assists, while the Hawks coughed it up 17 times with just eight helpers. The teams combined for 55 personal fouls, 33 of which were committed by the Bonnies, leading to four players fouling out. But the Hawks often failed to capitalize, shooting a dreadful 9-19 (47.4 percent) from the line in the first half, and just 29-45 (64.4 percent) for the game.

“Obviously putting some pressure on them and getting to the foul line that number of time was a going to be advantageous for us,” Martelli said.

The Hawks (9-14, 3-6 A-10) jumped on the Bonnies early by scoring the first seven points of the contest, and held a 19-9 edge with 12:32 left to play. But the Bonnies stormed back on the power of a 16-0 run to put them up 25-19 with 7:58 to play.

The Hawks managed to fight back despite a woeful shooting performance, and went into the half tied at 33 thanks to a five-second violation caused by Chris Prescott leading to a tip-in by Hilliard with under two ticks left.

The came out of halftime as the stronger squad, and went up 39-35 after a slow first four minutes thanks to two free throws from Hilliard. But the Bonnies went on an 11-2 run spurred by Hall, and took a 46-41 lead.

Williamson led his team back with five straight points on two strong drives to the hoop to stabilize the game. Just two minutes later, Govens would collect a defensive rebound and drive coast-to-coast for a lay-in that put the Hawks ahead for good.

Despite their struggles early in the game, the Hawks went 17-22 from the line in the game’s final eight minutes to preserve the lead.

The loss caps a tiring week for St. Bonaventure (9-12, 2-6 A-10), who arrived in Philadelphia on Thursday because of the impending snow. It’s something Martelli believes factored into the result.

“I think speaking for Bonaventure, it looked like they got tired the last 10 or 12 minutes,” he said. “I like to think we had something to do with that.”

The rescheduling of today’s game, originally set for Saturday, give the Hawks a quick turnaround for their game on Tuesday against St. Louis (14-8, 5-3 A-10) at the Hagan Arena.

Game Notes

– Darrin Govens’ 22-point outburst is just the sixth 20-point game by any Hawk this season.

– Carl Baptiste’s stat line wasn’t overly impressive (two points, one rebound, three fouls, and one turnover in 13 minutes), but Martelli singled him out for special recognition for the defensive job he against Nicholson. He played 11 straight minutes in the second half while Todd O’Brien was in foul trouble.

– One blemish for Baptiste was a posterization by Nicholson with 14:18 left in the second half that drew chuckles from the St. Joe’s bench. It was Frederic Weis-esque.

– Govens has 12 turnovers in his last two games, and 17 in his last four. He has had only two turnover-less games this season.

– St. Bonaventure now has just one win in 23 meetings with the Hawks in Philadelphia.

– The Hawks are currently in a three-way tie with Duquesne and La Salle for eighth place in the A-10 at 3-6.

– The game’s attendance was rather liberally estimated at 3,400. There is no way there was more than 1,700, and no more than 400 students.

-Matthew De George ’10

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