It capped an emotional night at Saint Joseph’s (11-13; 4-7 A-10) as head coach Phil Martelli guided the Hawks two days after his father, Phil, passed away. After a pre-game tribute to “Pops” Martelli, who had been there for almost every practice, game and road trip in the coach’s 24-year career, the players and staffs from both teams embraced the long-time Saint Joseph’s head coach one by one.
“That tribute . . . the class that went into that, the thought . . . I'm not big into faking it. One of the first texts that I got came from (Saint Louis coach) Travis Ford. And yesterday when I got to the office, there was a beautiful floral arrangement from Saint Louis. And for those kids to come over, even at the end, to acknowledge my loss and my family, much respect. Much respect to the Atlantic 10 and much respect to Saint Louis,” said Martelli.
Brown shot 10-for-13 from the field in the game, after starting the contest hitting nine consecutive shots in the first half. The A-10’s leading scorer also had nine rebounds and two assists. Bynum registered his second 20-point game of the year and handed out six assists while senior Chris Clover contributed 15 points and Lorenzo Edwards had 11 for the Hawks.
Saint Joseph’s staked the early lead, as Brown hit his first five shots to score 12 points and the Hawks went up 21-11 at 11:53. Saint Louis cut it to nine, 43-34, with a minute left in the half, but the Hawks went into the locker room with a 45-34 lead as Brown finished the period with 21 points. SJU connected on 59 percent from the field and made 6-of-14 three-pointers in the first half.
Although Brown’s streak came to an end on his 10th shot, the Hawks ran off seven straight points to open the second half, to take a 52-34 lead. SJU had the lead up to 20 points, 72-52, on a three by Edwards with 7:08 to play and remained in control the rest of the way. The final margin was the Hawks’ largest lead of the game and their biggest winning margin of the season.
SJU shot 55.9 percent for the game and had just five turnovers
Because of injuries, the Hawks have played the last six games with just seven full scholarship players. After halftime, they were down to six full scholarship players when senior Markell Lodge left the game with an injured thumb. Taylor Funk was battling a fever early in the day but played 30 minutes, posting eight points and seven rebounds.
"There was a guiding hand on some of the balls that went in. Jared Bynum was terrific. Charlie Brown was really special, early. The downer is Markell [Lodge], who is gone now for an x-ray on his thumb,” said the coach. “I can't say enough about the coaches. The coaches practiced with them Wednesday. It was Geoff Arnold's scout, he prepared them. And even looking forward to St. Bonaventure on Tuesday, Mark Bass has already started his scout, and Dave Duda has worked the offense. So it was special."
Saint Louis, which shot 37 percent in the game and committed 11 turnovers, was led by Tramaine Isabell, Jr., with 17 points and Javon Bess with 12.
Saint Joseph’s, which lost to Saint Louis earlier in the year (69-57), will host St. Bonaventure on Tuesday at Hagan Arena.