February 17th Team Report
Healthy Jones making Hawks feel better
After playing on an injured ankle since mid-December, Saint Joseph's star guard Carl "Tay" Jones is finally 100 percent healthy -- and it shows.
Jones scored a game-high 28 points to lead the Hawks to an 80-69 win at Rhode Island on Feb. 15. The victory improved Saint Joseph's to 17-10 overall and 7-5 in Atlantic 10 play and kept the Hawks' hopes of a top-four finish -- and a first-round bye -- in next month's A-10 tourney in Atlantic City alive.
With just four regular-season games remaining (at George Washington, vs. Richmond, vs. Temple and at Saint Bonaventure), the Hawks were tied for fifth place, just a game behind co-third-place teams UMass and Xavier. So they just need to keep winning and hope the crowded final standings shake out with them in one of the top four slots.
Even if the Hawks don't earn a first-round bye in Atlantic City, they'll be a tough out in the tourney now that Jones has finally rounded back into shape. He hurt his ankle a week before Christmas, and even though Jones has missed just one game, he said his ankle hasn't always been 100 percent.
But he's healthy now. And the Hawks are much more dangerous with the lightning-quick Jones feeling like his old self and therefore being able to water-bug off screens and knock down open shots. He was 9 for 13 from the field against Rhode Island, the second straight game that he's canned over 50 percent of his shots. Prior to those to hot shooting games, Jones had gone a remarkable 14 straight games of shooting under 50 percent and the Hawks were 7-7 in those games.
Since he declared himself fully healthy, the Hawks are 2-0 and could be getting hot at just the right time for head coach Phil Martelli.
Jones leads Hawks with strong overall game
--Junior G Carl "Tay" Jones not only finished with a game-best 28 points, but also played a great floor game with six assists and no turnovers against Rhode Island on Feb. 15.
--Sophomore F Halil Kanacevic (six points) didn't shoot the ball well, but finished with game-highs in rebounds (nine) and assists (seven) in an 80-69 win over Rhode Island.
BY THE NUMBERS: 46.9 percent -- The Hawks were shooting 46.9 percent from the field through Feb. 12, a big step up from the 41.5 percent they shot last season.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "We had a little wrinkle in how we defended their ball screen, and we really did a nice job on that. I thought every player gave us something, so that's a significant win." -- Coach Phil Martelli, after the win over Massachusetts.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
THIS WEEK'S GAMES
--at George Washington, Feb. 18
KEY MATCHUPS: The Colonials picked up a big win on the road at Richmond after getting strong games from F David Pellom and F Dwayne Smith. G Tony Taylor didn't score big against the Spiders but is a consistent point producer and the Colonials' leader.
TRENDING: Sophomore F/C C.J. Aiken has been an innate shot-blocker since the moment he set foot on Hawk Hill. Aiken swatted 117 shots as a freshman and altered countless others. This season, he's blocked 101 more shots through 27 games. But what is new is Aiken's newfound confidence at the offensive end in 2011-12. Aiken had 18 points against Rhode Island on Feb. 15 and was averaging 11.5 ppg and making 54.7 percent of his field-goal attempts (123-225) at that point -- far better than his 7.4 ppg and 45.6 field-goal shooting in 2010-11.
FUTURES MARKET: The Feb. 11 win over Massachusetts gave Saint Joseph's a split of the season series. The Minutemen won the first game 71-62 on Jan. 14. The Hawks have only one rematch left on their schedule in the regular season, hosting Temple on Feb. 25. The Owls won the first meeting 78-60 on Jan. 28, the Hawks' worst loss of the season.
--Junior G Carl "Tay" Jones was back on his game since sitting out the Jan. 18 loss at Xavier with an ankle injury. His 17 points against UMass on Feb. 11 marked his fourth straight game in double figures. He had scored in double figures in five of seven games since returning from the injury.
--Sophomore G Langston Galloway scored 15 points against the Minutemen, his third time in double figures in his last four games through Feb. 11.
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