St. Joe’s Coach Phil Martelli
On a night when Russell Wilson’s Seattle Seahawks defeated Drew Brees and his Saints, St. Joe’s (10-5, 1-1) and George Mason (7-9, 0-2) used the same run and gun mentality in George Mason’s first ever home Atlantic 10 conference game. You could count on one hand how many times the shot clock got under 5 seconds tonight. Both teams came out on fire as the score at halftime was 45-40 with George Mason in the lead. But in the end the Hawks, who shot an incredible 59.2 percent, got the best of the Patriots in a game that 7 lead changes.
St. Joe’s senior forward, Halil Kanacevic scored the second most points in his career with 23 in over 39 minutes of play. In fact coach Martelli really only used five players for the bulk of the game. Two of his main players, Ronald Roberts Jr. (14.6 ppg, 7.4 rpg) and Isaiah Miles both missed tonight’s game causing Martelli to stick with his starters who played for 187 of a possible 200 minutes. Papa Ndao made his first career start in place for the injured Roberts and scored 13 points on 4-4 shooting. Langston Galloway and DeAndre Bembry both turned in huge games for the Hawks scoring 20 and 17 respectively.
For George Mason, they shot lights out from behind the arc, hitting 11-23. This was highlighted by Bryon Allen’s 20 points on 4-7 shooting behind the arc. The three pointers kept them in the game until the final seconds. St. Joe’s went on a 9-0 run at the perfect time with ending with Mason’s Jalen Jenkins making two free throws with 2:42 on the clock with the Hawks up 74-69. But the biggest moment of the game followed those foul shots as St. Joe’s milked the clock and with 2:12 on the clock DeAndre Bembry flew through the air to grab a huge offensive rebound, which let the Hawks take another 30 seconds. And after a Chris Wilson missed three ball on that same possession the ball fell into the hands of Kanacevic causing a 1 minute 30 second possession for St. Joe’s. After the game Martelli laughed after he said, “we ended up on a power play like in hockey.”
Something positive to note for Paul Hewitt’s Patriots was that freshman forward, Jalen Jenkins scored a career high 20 points on an impressive 8-10 shooting and 4-5 from the free throw line. But foul shots were a big difference in the game, George Mason only attempted 10, while St. Joe’s attempted 26.
St. Joe’s will look forward to two games in Philadelphia, first against DuQuesne and then a Big 5 meeting with Penn at the Palestra. For George Mason, they have a long road ahead of them but the A-10 season is certainly very young. They host top dog in the conference, UMass, who barely survived St. Bonaventure and then head north to visit Rhode Island.
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