Recent Stretch: Inside the Numbers

Saint Joseph's fell 84-80 to Penn Saturday evening at The Palestra. The loss was Saint Joseph's fifth in their last seven games. The Hawks, who once stood at 10-3 and appeared to have the look of an NCAA Tournament team, are now 12-8. Today, Hawk Hill Hardwood takes a look at the recent seven-game stretch.

Despite a career-high 32 points from sophomore guard Langston Galloway, Saint Joseph's lost a high-scoring affair on Saturday night. The final margin of defeat, 4 points, does not reveal just how outplayed the Hawks were through the game's first 30 minutes. With just under 12 minutes to go in game action Saturday, the Hawks trailed the Quakers 62-39.

The Hawks did surge back though, and a Galloway three pulled the Hawks to within 4 with just 50 ticks to go. Penn would go on to make enough of their free throws down the stretch to hold on. In addition to Galloway, Saint Joseph's got 16 points from junior guard Carl Jones, who played 36 minutes despite being a game-time decision with his ankle injury.

For Penn, it all starts with the backcourt. For the second year in a row, Penn guard Tyler Bernardini killed the Hawks, scoring 24 points on 10-14 shooting from the field. Senior Zack Rosen also contributed 16 points and 8 assists for the Quakers.

Saturday's loss was just the latest for the Hawks in a rough stretch of recent play. Four of Saint Joseph's five losses during this seven-game stretch have come on the road. Harvard, UMass, Xavier, and Penn were all road losses, with Charlotte being Saint Joseph's only home loss. The Hawks have two wins during the stretch, with one coming on the road at Duquesne in overtime and one over Fordham at Hagan Arena.

On New Year's Eve, Saint Joseph's traveled to Harvard riding a five-game winning streak, including impressive wins over Creighton and Villanova. The Hawks held a ten-point halftime lead at Harvard before giving up the lead in the game's final minutes. Since blowing that late lead at Harvard, the Hawks have not been the same team.

Saint Joseph's followed the Harvard loss up with a road game at Duquesne. It was a game the Hawks looked completely lost in until surging late. In a role reversal of the Harvard game, Saint Joseph's was down double-digits in the second half before forcing overtime and escaping with a narrow 2-point win.

Following the dramatic Duquesne win, the Hawks returned home to Hagan Arena to face a Charlotte team they were heavily favored against. With an opportunity to remain undefeated at home and improve to 2-0 in Atlantic 10 play, the Hawks laid a dud, scoring only 52 points, and falling 57-52 to the 49ers.

After bouncing back with a win at home against Fordham, the Hawks have dropped three straight, including a game at UMass that they led 20-3 early in the first half.

So what exactly has gone wrong for the Hawks of late?

In the five losses, Saint Joseph's is averaging 63.6 points per game, which is nearly nine points less than the 72.3 that they are averaging on the season.

Turnovers have also been a concern for the Hawks in their five recent losses. Against Penn, the Hawks turned the ball over 15 times. Last Wednesday, at Xavier, Saint Joseph's turned it over a season-high 19 times without starting point guard Carl Jones in the lineup. 15 turnovers against Charlotte and UMass and 14 against Harvard also proved problematic for the Hawks.

For the Hawks to regain some of their early-season swagger, and on-the-court results, it is imperative that they find a way to limit their turnovers moving forward.

A glaring weakness from the Hawks is at the small forward position. Sophomore Daryus Quarles and freshman Papa Ndao share a platoon at that position, except when Coach Phil Martelli inserts freshman guard Chris Wilson and runs a three-guard offense. At Xavier, in 25 combined minutes, Quarles and Ndao tallied a total of 2 points. In 27 combined minutes at home against Charlotte, they tallied 6 points, all from Quarles.

On Wednesday night, Saint Joseph's will host the 14-5 Dayton Flyers. Dayton is coming off an impressive home win against Xavier. The Flyers, at 4-1 in conference play, sit atop the Atlantic 10. The Hawks, on the other hand, are looking for a win to even out their conference record at 3-3.

If they are to do that, it is obvious that several areas of play must return to their early-season form. The health of Tay Jones is also of significance, as he is still nursing his ankle injury but should be fine to go on Wednesday. If the Hawks are able to value the ball and get some productivity from the 3, they certainly have the talent and athleticism to run with Dayton.

Check back tomorrow for a Dayton preview.

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