Martelli, St. Joe’s not concerned with lack of depth heading into Atlantic 10 championship

BROOKLYN, N.Y.—All year long, Phil Martelli has deflected questions about his team’s lack of depth.

Six players routinely log minutes for St. Joseph’s, which defeated St. Bonaventure this afternoon to reach the Atlantic 10 title game. Those six players haven’t rested much since the Hawks opened conference tournament play against Dayton on Friday.

Photo: Saint Joseph's Athletics
Photo: St. Joseph’s Athletics

Tomorrow, they will combat VCU and its patented Havoc defense, which has already battered Richmond and George Washington in a pair of blowout victories this tournament.

Even though Martelli said St. Bonaventure’s shots fell flat because shooters were leaping on tired legs, he refuted that — based on the same logic — his players could succumb to fatigue tomorrow, when they take the Barclays Center floor for the third time in as many days.

“You know what I was thinking coming over here? We came — I don’t know the streets over here — but we came past a park and I was thinking to myself, ‘Those kids in the park are playing for one reason: they want to stay on the court,’” Martelli said. “So if they have to stay on the court until six tonight, and that was at 11:30 this morning, they would do whatever was necessary. That’s exactly what we’re going to do.”

Martelli elicited laughs from the assembled media in the interview room, both complaining about the TV timeouts and claiming their length could serve as an asset.

“Seriously, if you look at these media timeouts, I got engaged in less time than the media timeouts,” he said. “I don’t have anything else to tell them. I don’t know that much about basketball.”

The Hawks certainly didn’t need to abuse the lengthy timeouts in this afternoon’s 67-48 win over the Bonnies.

Halil Kanacevic dominated offensively in the first half, scoring 16 points on 4-of-6 shooting, to spare his teammates’ legs time to loosen up. Kanacevic finished with 26 points and 17 rebounds, and Langston Galloway (18 points) and Ronald Roberts (12 points) found their rhythm in the second half to help the Hawks pull away.

But, again, the Bonnies’ energy expired. They converted just 4 of 24 field-goal attempts in the second half, missing bunny after bunny. And they weren’t facing a suffocating, enervating defense like that of VCU.

The Rams wear down their opponents, an effect that could be exacerbated by the Hawks’ heavy concentration of minutes distribution. Martelli, who hasn’t led St. Joseph’s to an Atlantic 10 title since 1997, said playing for a championship should sufficiently motivate his Hawks to neglect their fatigue.

“I’m happy for these guys,” he said. “I just told them we’ll go back, we’ll rest and tomorrow we’re coming here for rings and nets. That’s what we want to get tomorrow. Rings and nets.”

Author: Ari Kramer

Ari Kramer is a senior at SUNY Binghamton. At Binghamton, he serves as Sports Editor for Pipe Dream, the school's student newspaper.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: