THE CONVERSATION between Phil Martelli and Langston Galloway came earlier this week. Martelli believed the Hawks' second-leading scorer too often settled for outside shots and too seldom pressured the defense and drew fouls. So, on the first play of Saint Joseph's 75-68 win over Boston University last night, the sophomore guard drove the ball to the basket. He missed the layup, but the ball was tipped in.
Never mind the result. Of more importance to Martelli was the effort, which signaled that Galloway listened to his coach and applied the instructions. And by the end of the game, Galloway finished with a career-high 30 points, going 6-for-8 from three-point range and 6-for-7 from the line.
"The guy couldn't miss tonight!" one of his teammates shouted in the locker room after the game, and the hyperbole wasn't far from the truth. Galloway admitted Martelli "was in my ear," although now he has seen what he can accomplish with a complete game.
"Probably the best I've played all-around," Galloway said.
Of course, Galloway could not completely forget about the outside shot. His 75 percent from beyond the arc crippled the Terriers (4-5), and he said he had been feeling hot since Tuesday's practice. He smiled when asked if he really needed to enter the paint considering his shooting prowess, at which point Galloway made sure to remember Martelli's instructions.
"A little bit of both," Galloway said. "Just mix it up."
What made Galloway's performance even more noteworthy was that the Hawks (6-3) leaned on him on defense, too. Galloway needed to mark Boston's Darryl Partin, a La Salle transfer who entered the game as the nation's third-leading scorer and finished with 24 points, but only 6-for-18 from the field. Galloway's defensive effort earned Martelli's praise as much as the 30 points.
Whenever Boston University found a way to cut a Hawks lead that swelled as high as 15 points in the second half, Galloway returned to the offensive and connected on a big basket to keep the Terriers from getting too close.
"The players have a lot of trust in him," Martelli said, "because they've seen how hard he works on his game."
One of those players is leading scorer Carl Jones, a junior who ensured a permanent spot in the St. Joe's record book when he connected on a long jumper as the buzzer sounded as the end of the first half to join the school's 1,000-point club. Jones is the 48th player in Hawks history to reach the mark, and only the 17th to do so in his third season.
Jones finished with 13 points, giving him 1,007 in his career. He knew the basket gave him the mark, although he expressed relief more than satisfaction after the win. Part of the reason is he's been conditioned by Martelli to think less of the milestone and more on the team's place in the standings.
"I don't mean to dismiss a thousand points, but the growth that he's had is he knows the left-hand column means more than any accomplishment in points," Martelli said. "For his first 2 years - and I'm right with him, I'm standing right with him - he and I have a lot of numbers on the righthand side of the column, and that has to change. Accomplishments and accolades and pats on the back will come when your team wins. That he got it in a team win, he should welcome that achievement and celebrate that achievement."
It was understandable that Martelli remained tepid even after a victory that included Galloway's career high and Jones' career achievement. Because Martelli still saw too many issues to launch a celebration: The Hawks were outrebounded, 42-26, and allowed 40 points in the second half.
Martelli has too frequently watched runs at the end of the first half vanish this season, and he knows the schedule will only intensify moving forward. That begins Saturday at noon, when Saint Joseph's hosts No. 19 Creighton in a matchup that Martelli already started talking to his players about after last night's win.
"This isn't like, 'Let's hug each other and give [Jones] a ball and isn't that great?' " Martelli said. "Let's start working and preparing."