St. Joseph’s won its first game Saturday against Albany, but there wasn’t a carryover to its road contest against Davidson on Tuesday night.
During the first eight minutes, it looked like the win over Albany was all the Hawks needed to get going. They came out firing and had the Wildcats down 10.
But all of a sudden, the Hawks reverted to old ways. Davidson went on an 11-0 run over a four-minute stretch and grew its lead to 11 at the half. The Hawks weren’t able to re-gain the lead as they lost, 80-66, in an Atlantic Ten conference game at Belk Arena.
Things were happening fast. In the blink of an eye, Taylor Funk, Cameron Brown, Jack Forrest, and Jordan Hall each made threes as the Hawks led, 19-9. Eighteen of those points came from threes. St. Joe’s made only one more triple in the first half as they were outscored by 28-7 until halftime.
“Defensive breakdowns on communications when we were changing our defenses,” head coach Billy Lange said of the run before halftime. “That happens often with inexperienced teams.”
The Hawks (1-9, 0-4 A-10) played more like the team from the first eight minutes in the second half. They got within five twice and got it down to a 61-58 game with 7 minutes, 23 seconds left.
Davidson (7-5, 3-2 A-10) answered with a 9-0 run and leading scorer Kellan Grady took over. He finished with 21 points and scored 13 of those in the second half.
Four Hawks scored in double figures, led by Funk and Forrest with 19 points each. Hall added 12 and Brown had 11. The Hawks shot 36.7% as a team and had just four bench points.
St. Joe’s only made two threes in the second half, but it still performed better. Even with the hot shooting start, St. Joe’s struggled around the rim. The Hawks added 18 of their 22 points in the paint in the second half.
“When you have a young team, it takes a long time for them to commit to being two-feet finishers,” Lange said. “It’s a constant battle. We drill two feet everyday. Some of those shots in the first half weren’t two-feet shots.”
Grady made a variety of tough shots. He came off screens with defenders attached to his hip, he made driving off-hand layups with hands in his face, and buried open shots. St. Joe’s shot the ball better in the second half, but it was missing a scorer like Ryan Daly, who could make one drive to the basket to halt an opposing team’s scoring run like Grady did for Davidson.
“He’s a really hard shot-maker,” Lange said. “This was the first game where I felt that we did not execute as well as we have against the other team’s best guard. We’ve been really good at that all season, but tonight we didn’t and part of that is Kellan can make really hard shots.”