Hawks take down Coppin State

On Wednesday evening, Saint Joseph's took advantage of a big night from sophomore CJ Aiken and got their 9th win of the year, taking down Coppin State 81-72. The win was Saint Joseph's fourth in a row and improved them to 9-3 on the season. With the victory, head coach Phil Martelli tied Bill Ferguson as the winningest coach in Saint Joseph's history.

Coming off their impressive win on Saturday evening against city rival Villanova, Wednesday's contest against Coppin State could have been a classic trap game. The action early on was fairly evenly matched. After the Hawks built a 22-17 lead on a Carl Jones triple, Coppin State would go on to score the next six points and take the lead.

The next six points, however, all came from the Hawks. They all came from C.J. Aiken. And they all came on emphatic dunks by the sophomore big man, who seems to turning in highlight-reel plays on a nightly basis as much as anyone else in the nation right now.

A Langston Galloway three at the first-half buzzer gave the Hawks a 9-point lead going into halftime. An astounding stat from the first half of last night's game shows how much the Hawks rely on their three-point shooting from the perimeter and dunks from their athletes on the inside. 28 of Saint Joseph's 37 first-half points last night came on either dunks or threes.

The Hawks opened up the second half on a 7-2 run, and seemed to be in control with a 44-30 lead at that point. They extended their lead to 15 on another Galloway three, and had a 57-42 lead roughly halfway through the second stanza.

However, sloppy play, and only 5 points over the next seven minutes, allowed the Eagles to crawl back within ten. With under a minute to go, an Akeem Ellis layup cut that lead all the way down to 78-72, but the Hawks were able to hold on and escape with an 81-72 victory.

Saint Joseph's was lead by CJ Aiken's 20 points. They also got double-digit points from Galloway (18), Jones (16), and Daryus Quarles (10). It was Quarles' first double-digit outing of the season. He shot 2-5 from three on the evening, and his ability to score from the wing is something that the Hawks will need as they get into Atlantic 10 play.

Sophomore Halil Kanacevic turned in one of his better performances as a Hawk, stuffing the stat sheet with 7 points, 8 rebounds, 8 assists, and 4 blocks.

An area of concern in last night's win was turnovers. The Hawks turned the ball over 18 times against Coppin State, with both Jones and Chris Wilson having 5 turnovers apiece.

The win was number 9 on the year for the Hawks. Their 9th win last season did not come until March 5th, in the final game of the regular season. It took Saint Joseph's 12 games to get to 9 wins this year, as opposed to 30 games a year ago.

On the recruiting front, the Hawks had two standouts in the class of 2014 in attendance last night. St. Andrew's (DE) sophomores Austin Tilghman and Ben Bentil took in last night's action, alongside their high school coach Terrell Myers. Myers, of course, played on Hawk Hill from 1993-1997. Bentil and Tilghman attended the Villanova game over the weekend, took an unofficial visit to Hawk Hill on Monday, and then attended last night's game as well.

Saint Joseph's has the week off before returning to action next Wednesday at Hagan Arena against Morgan State. Morgan State defeated Loyola Marymount on Wednesday evening to improve to 2-7 on the year.

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