Dec. 21, 2011
PHILADELPHIA - C.J. Aiken scored a career-high 20 points to help Saint Joseph's win its fourth straight, as the Hawks defeated Coppin State, 81-72, at Hagan Arena. Head coach Phil Martelli recorded the 309th win of his career and is now tied with Bill Ferguson (1928-53) as the Hawks' all-time leader in victories. Martelli's career record is now 309-212 in 17 seasons.
Aiken, who shot 7-for-10 from the field, led a balanced attack that saw Langston Galloway score 18 points and Carl Jones chip in with 16. Daryus Quarles had a season-high 10 points and forward Halil Kanacevic posted eight rebounds and a career-high eight assists.
The Hawks fought off a hot shooting Coppin State team that made 14-of-30 three-point field goals in the game, including an 8-for-15 effort in the first half.
Saint Joseph's led by double digits for most of the second half, and by as much as 15. With the Hawks ahead by 74-62 with 1:41 to play, Coppin State forced three SJU turnovers and three fouls to whittle the deficit down to 78-72 with :35 left. A free throw by the Hawks' Chris Wilson and two by Langston Galloway in the final 14 seconds sealed the victory.
"The players deserve a lot of credit for the way they prepared. Monday's practice was just terrific," said Martelli. "I thought we had turnovers (18) based on the atmosphere, based on the time of the year, and that's unfortunate because we played better than that."
In the first half, the Hawks went up by 17-8 with a Galloway dunk off a missed jumper by Quarles, but Coppin State outscored SJU, 15-5, to take a 23-22 lead on a three-pointer by Akeem Ellis. Aiken answered back with three straight dunks, two off passes from Kanacevic, to give the Hawks a 28-23 lead with 4:56 to go. Galloway connected on a three-pointer at :03 to push SJU's lead to 37-28 at halftime.
"I actually think Halil was the best player tonight. When they took the one-point lead he threw the lob to C.J., and another one to C.J. and he gets a steal," said Martelli. "He does a little bit of the small things defensively that you think who's going to make that particular play. The other guys are just young and not confident in their abilities. He's willing to be wrong defensively and that's ok."
The Hawks almost matched Coppin State with the long-range shooting, connecting on a season-high 12-for-29 (41.4 percent), led by four three-pointers from Galloway.
Saint Joseph's takes a break for the holiday and returns to action on December 28 hosting Morgan State.