St. Joseph’s takes lessons away from Villanova loss
The bright spot for the Hawks continues to be transfer center Ejike Obinna.
The Villanova Wildcats were firing on all cylinders Saturday when they defeated St. Joseph’s, 81-52, while the usually reliable sharpshooters for the Hawks misfired badly, shooting 22% from three. Taylor Funk and Jack Forrest combined to go 0-for-8 from deep.
If that doesn’t change by the time Atlantic 10 play starts, the Hawks are in trouble.
The bright spot for the Hawks continues to be transfer center Ejike Obinna, who continued his impressive streak of efficiency, shooting 5-for-6 from the field. No matter who was guarding him down low, Obinna made his presence felt in the post.
Funk went scoreless for the first time in his college career.
When asked about why Funk struggled, Hawks coach Billy Lange pointed to the team play of Villanova. “Every single guy in a Villanova basketball jersey, they make you take challenged shots, and then all of a sudden you get open ones, and they feel a little bit more rushed than they probably are,” Lange said.
Another player who did well for the Hawks was Jordan Hall, who scored 22 points on Saturday. However, the Hawks star will continue to look to be more efficient. Some garbage-time buckets led to an average day shooting for Hall, as he went 8-for-20 from the field.
“Where I’ve seen great growth in Jordan overall, and what I did feel tonight is he’s becoming more stable emotionally, mentally, psychologically,” Lange said. “He’s turning into a better leader and a better competitor which is encouraging for us.”
Along with Funk, Dahmir Bishop and Kacper Klaczek couldn’t find a way to score on Saturday, adding to the Hawks’ woes. Bishop and Klaczek are usually important contributors off the bench.
The Hawks defended the perimeter poorly. Villanova shot 52% from downtown, with Collin Gillespie as the cornerstone of their three-point attack, knocking down five of them.
“That is a great Villanova basketball team. I believe it’s the best team [Jay Wright] has had in 20 years,” said Lange of the sixth-ranked team in the country.
Up next for the Hawks, Penn comes to Hagan Arena on Wednesday for another Big 5 matchup.