St. Joe’s has had five days to think about their Thanksgiving Day loss to Western Kentucky at Madison Square Garden. The 3-3 Hawks return to action Wednesday evening at home against Big 5 rival Temple. It’s a Big 5 week for the Hawks, as they host Temple Wednesday then travel to the Main Line on Saturday for the Holy War against Villanova.
Temple enters Wednesday’s contest at 4-2, with wins against American, Louisiana Tech, Penn, and LIU Brooklyn. Fran Dunphy’s Owls’ losses were against a top-5 Duke team and a 57-50 loss to UNLV. LIU Brooklyn is a common opponent for the Hawks and Owls. St. Joe’s needed a last-second James Demery three to force overtime in order for the Hawks to get past the Blackbirds. Temple had an easier time, beating LIU 70-56 at home on Sunday.
Temple is similar to St. Joe’s in their offensive struggles. As a team, the Owls shoot just 35% from the field and 21% from three. Through six games, the Owls are averaging just 62 points per game. That being said, St. Joe’s ranks 319th in Division 1, at 58.7 points per game. The Hawks’ shooting percentages are only slightly better than Temple’s, at 38% from the field and 24% from three. The moral of the story here is that points will be at a premium Wednesday night.
Temple is led by senior point guard Will Cummings, who is averaging just over 15 points per game. Cummings hung 18 and 21 points up in back-to-back games against Duke and UNLV. He is a more-than-capable scorer, and he will be facing off against St. Joe’s senior point guard Chris Wilson, who has really struggled so far this season.
Another player for Hawk fans to closely monitor in this one is 6’7 power forward Jaylen Bond. If that name sounds familiar, it is because Bond was high school teammates with former Hawk C.J. Aiken. Bond played his first two years of college ball at Texas before transferring back home to Philadelphia. He played through a foot injury the first couple games of the year, but put together his best performance as an Owl on Sunday against LIU Brooklyn. Bond, ruggedly athletic at 6’7, had 11 points and 13 rebounds in just 25 minutes of action in the win. Jaylen will have a significant strength advantage inside against SJU’s Isaiah Miles. Look for Miles to try to force Bond out of the paint, and if that doesn’t work, for Phil Martelli to sub in Aaron Brown to do battle with Bond.
Temple beat the Hawks 77-69 last year on North Broad Street. St. Joe’s will look to bounce back from Thursday’s loss and to avenge last year’s loss Wednesday night. The game Wednesday is a 6:30 tip and will be aired nationally on CBS Sports Network.
Now that the calendar has turned to December, the high school basketball season is also upon us. St. Joe’s has three 2015 commits, and all begin their high school seasons in the coming week. Bergen Catholic tips off the 2014-2015 season December 8th on the road against Spring Valley. Pierfrancesco Oliva, a 6’8 senior at Bergen Catholic, will be playing his first complete season of high school basketball in the United States this year. Hawk Hill Hardwood will be catching him live later this winter.
The Hawks’ two Philadelphia Catholic League recruits begin their seasons on Saturday afternoon at Philadelphia University. St. Joe’s Prep, led by 6’4 St. Joe’s commit Chris Clover, will take on Bartram (PA) at noon in the second game of the day at the Scholastic Play by Play Tip-Off Classic. Neumann-Goretti (PA), led by point guard Lamarr Kimble, also a Hawk commit, will take on Philadelphia Electric at 5:15 in the fifth game of the day. Life Center Academy (NJ), Capital Christian (MD), and St. Benedict’s (NJ) are also participating in the Tip-Off Classic. It’s a great opportunity for Hawk fans to see two-thirds of their 2015 recruiting class and also get an early look at some 2016 targets.
Hawk Hill Hardwood will be at tomorrow night’s Temple-St. Joe’s contest. Check back here post-game for a full and detailed recap.
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