Kanacevic could be critical down stretch

Saint Joseph's junior forward Halil Kanacevic is one of the more unique big men you will find in the Atlantic 10. Over the past three games, Kanacevic has shown how good he can be, and how pivotal a role he will play if the Hawks are to make a run at the postseason.

Halil Kanacevic, Saint Joseph's 6'8 uniquely skilled forward, returned back to the United States prior to the Hawks' tilt with Saint Bonaventure. He had missed three games due to his travels back to his native Montenegro for the funeral of his maternal uncle.

Prior to his brief hiatus from the team, Kanacevic was in the biggest rut of his Hawk career. He had been suspended for two games for an obscene hand gesture at Villanova. The Hawks proceeded to lose one of those games. At home. To Fairfield. When he returned, things didn't seem improved. Over the three games following his suspension, Kanacevic shot a combined 4-23 from the field.

Kanacevic returned to the Hawks for their January 23rd loss to Saint Bonaventure. There were very few bright spots for the Hawks in that one, but the brightest was the play of Kanacevic. He tallied 16 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 assists.

Last night, at Fordham, Kanacevic was one of the primary reasons the Hawks escaped with a win. Halil had 12 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 assists in the 66-62 win. That was all in 20 minutes also, due to first-half foul trouble.

Halil's strong performances since his return from Montenegro are worth a closer look. In the three games (the Bonaventure loss, and wins against Xavier and Fordham), Halil is averaging 14.3 points per game, 7 boards, and 4 assists.

Going deeper, he is a combined 16-24 from the field (67%), and 9-10 from the free-throw line. He is taking better care of the ball, eliminating some of his questionable decisions, and playing much more under control.

Saint Joseph's is now 12-7 on the year and 3-3 in Atlantic 10 play following last night's win at Fordham. With ten games remaining on the schedule, they can really only afford one or two losses the rest of the way to allow an opportunity for an at-large bid.

In order for this to become a reality, the Hawks will need Halil Kanacevic to continue along his current path. When the 6'8 forward from Staten Island plays as he currently is, the Hawks become that much tougher of an out.

Hawk Hill Hardwood Top Stories