The Hawks step out of conference tonight as they descend upon the Palestra to tangle with the Penn Quakers. Saint Joseph’s, in the midst of a five-game spiral, hope to find their way against the 5-8 Ivy League squad.
If the Hawks are to win tonight, they may have to do it without freshman big man CJ Aiken. Aiken, who has started all 18 games thus far, averages 8.3 points, 4.7 rebounds, and a conference-leading 3.8 blocks per game. His last time out, Aiken electrified the Hagan arena crowd, throwing down three fast break dunks and sinking two corner threes to help give the Hawks a 37-35 halftime lead against Rhode Island. Aside from his defense, he disappeared in the second half, scoring his 12 points in the game in the first half. He did finish with seven blocks. Aiken warmed up with the team, but is out of the starting line-up tonight and is questionable to play at all. Fellow freshman Ronald Roberts will start in his place.
The Hawks are desperate to find consistent scoring to help balance the output of sophomore guard Carl Jones. Jones, scoring 17.8 points per game, seemed to be the only offensive-minded Hawk on the floor in the second half against Rhody. He finished with 25 points but was unable to prevent the Rams and Delroy James from overtaking the small halftime lead en route to a win. Langston Galloway (11.8 ppg) and Idris Hilliard (7.8 ppg) will need to step up in order for the Hawks to be successful.
The Quakers counter with a line-up featuring four double-digit scorers. Junior guard Zack Rosen paces Penn with 15.3 points per game. He is joined in double figures by forward Jack Eggleston (13.1 ppg) and guards Miles Cartwright (11.6 ppg) and Tyler Bernardini (10.2 ppg).
Penn has dropped its last four games, and eight overall, but have played some tough competition. Their opponents include Pittsburgh, Villanova, Kentucky, and Temple. Don’t expect the Quakers to shy away from the Hawks tonight.
We’re about 10 minutes from tip off. Stay with us the rest of the night for live coverage from the historic Palestra.
7:04… The Hawks take the floor sporting the gray unis while UPenn will be wearing the road navy blue. St. Joe’s is considered the home team in this contest due to an arrangement between the two schools to alternate each year. The only things this changes are the uniforms worn and the athletic communication staff that sets up the game.
SJU: Jones, Roberts, Quarles, Hilliard, and Galloway
Penn: Cartwright, Rosen, Bernardini, Dougherty, and Eggleston
Penn controls the tip and we’re under way.
7:12… Five minutes have passed and the Hawks hold a 9-7 lead at the first media timeout. Hilliard has five, scoring both with a straight-away three-pointer and on a layup off a Carl Jones drive. Roberts and Quarles have each scored two for the Hawks.
Roberts has taken advantage of his opportunity to start. He scored on a reverse layup for the team’s first basket and has anchored the paint for the Hawks with his defense and rebounding.
Miles Cartwright, Penn’s third leading scorer, already has two fouls.
7:19… The Quakers can shoot it a little bit. Bernardini has hit a pair of threes in the last stretch and Penn has jumped out to a 17-14 lead over the Hawks.
CJ Aiken is set to check into the game for the first time. Roberts has shown he can play tonight though. Expect him to get a lot more time with Aiken being under the weather.
St. Joe’s has given up a couple of fast break layups and stick backs over the past few minutes as the guards have struggled to keep Penn off the boards. A couple of desperation heaves late in the shot clock by Quarles and Galloway also gave Penn run-outs in the open floor.
Swilling, Aiken, and Crosgile have now entered the game for the Hawks at the 10:30 mark.
7:24… Swilling and Crosgile hit threes upon taking the floor and the Hawk have vaulted back in front of the Quakers. UPenn has started to make some mistakes on the offensive end–missing layups and making errant passes.
Phil Martelli has gone deep to his bench early, and they have responded. Six players have scored for the Hawks. Swilling, Crosgile, Aiken, and Bentley have all seen action off the bench. Aiken got another rejection on the first shot he defended. So much for the flu…
The Hawks take the floor with a 20-19 lead with 7:05 remaining in the first half.
7:35… Penn has switched it up to the 2-3 zone and the Hawks look lost. The back-and-forth first half has now swung back to the Quakers; they lead 26-25 with 2:39 to go.
UPenn is sitting back in its 2-3 zone daring the Hawks to shoot over them. So far the Hawks are 5-12 from deep. Too many of the misses are ill-advised and have led to Quaker fast break points. With an advantage in the paint, it’ll be interesting to see if Phil changes the game plan.
Quarles leads the balanced Hawks attack tonight with 7. Bernardini has 12 for Penn.
7:44… Hilliard closes the half for the Hawks with a layup off a nice pick-and-roll play with Langston Galloway. But the Hawks still find themselves trailing 30-28 at intermission.
St. Joe’s has not had an answer for Tyler Bernardini, who paces the Quakers with 14 points by way of threes, mid-range jumpers, and fast-break layups. Zack Rosen has hit a couple of threes, but aside from him, Penn shows no other discernible offensive threat.
The Hawks simply have taken too many bad shots. They should not be losing this game right now, but they find themselves trailing thanks to a number of offensive mindcramps.
7:50… Stat boy has just come around with the official first half stats. Quarles and Hilliard lead the team with 7 points apiece. Leading scorer Carl Jones and second leading scorer Langston Galloway have combined for four point (3 for Jones, 1 for Galloway). The Hawks will need more production from this end.
An even more troubling statistic is the rebound totals. The guard-oriented Penn squad is outrebounding the Hawks by a count of 16-14. The Hawks have also turned the ball over 9 times, resulting in 7 Penn points.
On a happier note, former Hawk Rashid Bey was just inducted into the Big Five Hall of Fame. Congrats to him!
8:05… Ronald Roberts just brought the student section to its feet with a put back slam at the end of the shot clock to cap a four-minute segment that left much to be desired for the Hawks. The offensive rebound was just the second of the game for the Hawks. Daryus Quarles was the lone bright spot for the Hawks, hitting a pair of mid-range jumpers to bring his team-high scoring total to 11 points.
The Hawks trail Penn by 3 at the 15:55 mark.
8:11… Timeout Penn after a St. Joe’s onslaught on the boards. Think Phil emphasized that at the half? Hilliard, Roberts, and Galloway have all been hitting the glass hard to start the half.
Ronald Roberts is making a strong case to stay in the starting line-up beyond tonight. He’s scored 10 points and has seven rebounds by my unofficial count. He’s done a great job filling in for CJ Aiken. Aiken has only played about 8 minutes tonight, has two blocks but zero shot attempts. He clearly is not himself after missing the last two days of practice with the flu.
42-41 Hawks at the 13:24 mark.
8:20… Roberts is still doing work for the Hawks, collecting another rebound and 2 more points in the last couple minutes. CJ Aiken found his way into the scorebook as well with a 18-foot jumper late in the shot clock.
The story of the night, though, has been the play of Tyler Bernardini for Penn. He has 24 points to lead all scorers and does not seem to miss. He has regained the lead for Penn at 49-46 with 11:16 to go.
8:33… Bernardini just doesn’t miss. He comes off the bench to nail another three, bringing his game-high scoring total to 27 points.
The Hawk bench seems to be losing some of its composure following a few close calls that went Penn’s way. Phil has put Jones, Aiken, Hilliard, Galloway, and Roberts on the floor to try to take control of the game. Penn is on the line for two, leading 54-51 with 6:53 to go.
8:40… Galloway just hit a 12-footer to pull the Penn lead back to four. After an Eggleston scoop shot, it was beginning to feel as though the game was slipping from the Hawks. 60-56 Penn with 4:39 to go.
8:43… The porous Hawk defense is not helping their cause at all. Fran Dougherty just finished a wide-open lay-up in the offensive set to push the lead back to six points for the Quakers.
Langston Galloway is having his freshman struggles tonight. On top of only scoring three points on 1-6 shooting, he has struggled mightily in handling the basketball. He has dribbled off his own leg at least three times and the most recent occurrence forced a poor shot on the part of Carl Jones late in the shot clock.
Penn has the ball up 6 with the clock winding toward three minutes.
8:46… Zack Rosen’s latest three might have been the back-breaker. Penn leads 67-58 with 1:25 to go. St. Joe’s offense just isn’t scoring and isn’t even getting shots until 25 to 30 seconds into the possession.
8:50… UPenn’s Big Five futility comes to a close against the Hawks tonight. Conor Turley’s fastbreak dunk off the press was the exclamation point of the occasion as the Hawk’s disappointing season moves on.
St. Joe’s drops to 5-14 on the year, losing their last 6. Penn snaps its four-game losing streak and raise its record to 6-8.
The final score from the Palestra is 73-61 Penn triumphing over St. Joe’s. Thank you for following.
For a complete recap of the game, check out The Hawk this week. The first issue of the new semester will be on newsstands Wednesday morning.