Sunday, January 2, 2011

Hawks Enter Conference Play at 5-8

On Wednesday, Saint Joseph's will begin Atlantic 10 play with a home game against the 6-5 Dukes of Duquesne. The Hawks will enter the contest three games below .500, at 5-8. Saint Joseph's is riding a two-game winning streak after knocking off Siena 58-48 on Friday afternoon. In the win, the Hawks got 17 points from sophomore guard Tay Jones and 11 points from fellow sophomore Justin Crosgile. Freshmen Langston Galloway and CJ Aiken both chipped in 10 points in the winning effort. Aiken also had 9 rebounds and at least 4 blocks for the Hawks.

Another key in the Hawks victory on Friday was the defense of freshman Ronald Roberts on Siena's Ryan Rossiter. Rossiter finished the game with 10 points and 15 rebounds, but was kept in check by Roberts down the stretch. The coaches switched senior Idris Hilliard off of Rossiter after Rossiter scored at will on consecutive possessions. Roberts did a terrific job of preventing entry into the post and keeping Rossiter off the block.

Speaking of Aiken, he currently, as of Sunday morning, sits at 8th in the nation in blocked shots per game. Averaging 3.31 blocked shots per game, according to ESPN Aiken is the leading freshman shot-blocker in the country.

Duquesne comes into Wednesday's contest as the country's 15th highest scoring offense, averaging just under 82 points per game. The Hawks, on the other hand, are 245th in America, averaging 66 points per game. Obviously, in order for the Hawks to have a shot in Wednesday's conference opener, something there is going to have to give.

Senior Charoy Bentley and junior Todd O'Brien were both unable to suit up on Friday due to injuries. Seated on the bench next to those two, as he has been all season, was Hofstra transfer Halil Kanacevic. A new face on the bench Friday was current redshirt freshman Papa Samba Ndao, a 6'8 forward from Florida's Montverde Academy. Papa began practicing with the team this week and will redshirt the remainder of this season, thus becoming eligible in the 2011-2012 season with four years of eligibility remaining. This will put him in the same class as incoming freshman guard Chris Wilson.

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