Saint Joseph’s vs. Rhode Island LIVE BLOG

The students are back on campus and, after a two-game road swing, so are the Hawks.  St. Joe’s will need the energy from the home crowd to snap it’s four-game losing streak tonight against the Rhode Island Runnin’ Rams.  Rhody is coming off a pair of wins against Richmond and St. Bonaventure and stand at 11-6 overall, 2-1 in the conference.

The Hawks dropped the pair of road contests, at Dayton and Saint Louis, and are now looking for some home-cooking to right the ship and get them on track in the Atlantic 10 season.  St. Joe’s is winless in four conference games, dropping games to Duquesne and George Washington. The Hawks find themselves in the basement, 3.5 games behind leaders Duquesne, Xavier, and George Washington.  This cold streak leaves Head Coach Phil Martelli six games shy of his 300th career victory.

The Hawks are paced by the young backcourt tandem of sophomore Carl Jones (17.4 ppg) and freshman Langston Galloway (12.1).  Jones has reached double figures in 16 of the 17 games this year, and will undoubtedly need to do so again in order to give the Hawks a chance.  The Hawks will need someone else to step up on the offensive end.  CJ Aiken (8.1 ppg) and Idris Hilliard (7.5 ppg) will provide an inside-out balance to the Hawk attack if they can be serious scoring threats tonight.

The Hawks will need to find a way to contain the Rams’ prolific scorer Delroy James.  The 6-8 senor forward averages 17.8 points per game and is a threat to score from anywhere on the floor.  European sharpshooter Nikola Malesevic will test the Hawks on the perimeter.  CJ Aiken, the A-10 blocks leader, will need to lead the defensive charge for the Hawks tonight.

We’re now six minutes away from tip-off.  Keep refreshing your page throughout the night to stay up with the action.

7:08… We’re running at about half capacity tonight in Hagan Arena as we get set to tip it off.  Here are the starting line-ups:

SJU: Hilliard, Galloway, Quarles, Aiken, Jones

URI: James, Marquis Jones, Akeem Richmond, Maelsevic, and Will Martell

St. Joe’s controls the tip, and we’re under way.

7:15… We’ve reached the first media timeout, almost 6 minutes into the game, and the Rams lead 13-10.  The Hawks are clearly out-sized at four of the five positions on the floor, and the Rams are starting to assert their authority in the paint.  The Hawks’ scoring has been balanced, with every starter except for Quarles recording a bucket.

The Rams have been unable to find the range from deep, with Marquis Jones misfiring twice.  But Delroy James has been slicing the Hawks’ defense with ease.  He has four of the Rams’ points, has led a couple of their fast breaks, and has drawn two Hawk fouls in the early going.

Jones makes two free throws out of the timeout for the Hawks and we’re back to a one-point game.

7:20… Todd O’Brien enters the game to help the Hawks in the paint.  Rhody has tried the full-court press a number of times already, but the Hawks have broken it with ease and been able to push it in transition.  13-12 URI.

7:23… We’re at the under 12 timeout.  Carl Jones has thrown up four bricks from deep, not even coming close on any thus far.  Todd O’Brien, no doubt brought into the game to help the Hawks on the glass, saw his first rebound opportunity go off his hand, off his foot, and out of bounds.

The only bucket we’ve seen since the last media timeout was on another Delroy James drive to the left block.  He’s scored six points to lead the Rams.  The score is now 15-12.

7:26… James hits two free throws, Quarles misses badly on a three, and Malesvic buries a triple on the other end to push the URI lead to 20-12.  The 7-0 spurt forces Martelli to use the first time out at the 10:55 mark.

The first possession after the timeout: Galloway airballs a three-pointer early in the shot clock.  I don’t think that’s what Phil drew up…

7:36… CJ Aiken ignites the crowd with a three-pointer and a huge block.  Carl Jones then buries another three as the Hawks seemed to find life offensively.  They finally give the crowd something to cheer about after a five-minute period of stagnant offense and matador defense.

Jones is leading the way for the Hawks with eight points as the deficit has been cut to three at 22-19.  Delroy James knifed to the rim and drew yet another Hawk foul and will be at the line again when we resume play with 7:25 to go in the first half.

7:43… CJ Aiken is single-handedly keeping the Hawks in this one over the last few minutes.  The freshman buried another corner three to cut the Ram lead to 30-26 and is now pacing the Hawks with 10 points.

Rhode Island looked lost with James receiving a short break on the bench.  A couple of late-in-the-possession breakdowns for the Hawks, however, allowed Will Martell and Nikola Malesevic to get easy baskets to keep the Rams out in front.

If the Hawks’ open shots would start falling at all, they might actually have a chance here.

7:55… Carl Jones scored the final seven points of the half and gave the Hawks their first lead of the game at with a corner three with 46 seconds remaining at the half.  The sophomore guard is the game’s high-scorer in the first half with 17 points as the Hawks hold a 37-35 edge at intermission.

The Hawks finally found some offensive rhythm getting out in transition.  Many of the open shots that went begging through the first 15 minutes finally started falling and the crowd–now at about 80% capacity–came to its feet on a number of occasions.

CJ Aiken kept the Hawks in it for the first 19 minutes of the half.  He brought the crowd to its feet multiple times with three dunks, two three-point bombs from the corner in front of URI Coach Jim Baron, and three blocks near the rim.  He has 12 points at intermission.

The Rams have found their success in the half-court set, using the size advantage as well as Delroy James’ driving ability to get to the rim and create fouls and easy baskets.  James has nine points–five from the charity stripe–to pace the Rams.  Akeem Richmond has dropped a pair of threes on his way to eight points, and Malesevic has also poured in seven for Rhody.

Look for the Rams to try to slow the game down and call off the full-court press.  The Hawks have handled the ball well against it and have created open looks in transition.  The Rams have had a clear advantage in their half-court sets.

We’re in for an entertaining second half as the Hawks will look to hold on to their slim lead and snatch their first Atlantic-10 win.

8:10… Starting line-ups back on the floor for both squads as the Hawks inbound it to start the second stanza.  The Hawks hold a 37-35 lead.

8:17… Rhody has regained the lead 44-43 on another Delroy James driving lay-up as the Hawk have been victimized by sloppy play on the offensive end.

Idris has two baskets in the half, giving him seven points on the game, on an 18-footer from the top of the key and a lay-up on the left block.  Other than that and a Quarles jumper, the Hawks’ possessions have been marred by offensive fouls and bad passes.

8:24… Carl Jones brings us to the media timeout with an offensive foul for the second time in a row.  Not much offense in the last four-minute segment, with only a Delroy James three finding the bottom of the net.  James has scored 10 of URI’s 12 points in the first eight minutes of the half.  The Hawks have no answer for him driving the lane.  CJ Aiken’s five blocks (unofficially) have not even deterred him from entering the lane.

The Hawks’ sloppy offense continues as they have gone more than four minutes without a point.  URI leads 47-43 as the clock winds down to 11 minutes.

8:29…Delroy James is doing it all for the Rams.  He’s rebounding, facilitating, and scoring.  Akeem Richmond’s third three, this one off an inside-out assist from James, forces Martelli to call timeout at the 9:54 mark.  The Hawks trail 50-43 and have not scored since the 15:26 mark.

8:34… Idris Hilliard snaps a 7 minute, 12 second scoring drought for the Hawks with an open lay-up.  Hopefully for the Hawks that might remove the invisible lid covering the basket.

…These kids in Dunkin Donuts suits aren’t having nearly as much trouble scoring…

The Rams have the ball and a 52-45 lead with 7:59 remaining.  The Hawks need to find some energy quickly and make a stand in the next 4-minute block.

8:37… Another CJ Aiken block, a Carl Jones three, followed by a Jones steal and breakaway lay-up is just what the Hawks needed.  Jim Baron is forced to call timeout with 6:38 remaining and the Rams clinging to a 54-50 lead.

8:44… Another Jones three is keeping the Hawks within striking distance, but their inability to hold the Rams at bay is preventing them from taking a lead.  Jones, now with 25 points, just sunk his fourth three of the game, but then fouled Marquis Jones at the other end, putting Jones at the line when we come out of the timeout.

Aiken, the star of the first half, has yet to score here in the second half, giving the Hawks only one real scoring threat in Jones.

The home team will need to step it up on both ends in a hurry.  URI leads 58-53, with 2 free throws upcoming, with 3:36 to go.

8:47… Galloway gets to the rim and drops in a bunny.  Martelli calls timeout to set up the press while also begging for a foul.  60-55 with 2:53 left.

8:52…The Hawks are doing a lot of standing around offensively at a time where they can’t afford to.  Hilliard scored on an 8-footer in the lane at the shot clock carried below five second.  Martelli then called timeout on the next possession as 17 seconds waned from the shot clock without any Hawk movement toward the bucket.

Hawks’ ball with 1:16 remaining.  The Rams cling to a 61-57 lead.

8:56… Ron Roberts fouls out for the Hawks after an Idris Hilliard stick-back.  As it stands, Marquis Jones is at the line for a one-and-one for URI, up 4 with 11 seconds to go.

8:58… And that’ll do it for the Hawks.  Marquis Jones sinks one free throw to bring the final score to 64-59 Rams.

The Rams run their record to 12-6, 3-1 in the Atlantic 10.  The Hawks fall to 5-13, 0-5 in the A-10 with the loss.  The Hawks are back in action Saturday against UPenn at the Palestra.

Thank you for following along tonight.

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