After a 74-46 loss at Villanova on Saturday, St. Joseph's coach Phil Martelli admitted he let his team have it the next two days.
"They got blasted on Sunday, not because we lost on Saturday, but too many times we are out there and we don't look like they believe they belong," Martelli said.
The Hawks certainly looked like they belonged, albeit against a 3-6 team, but it still resulted in a 68-42 win over Loyola of Maryland on Tuesday at Hagan Arena.
St. Joseph's (5-4) had won its other four games by a total of 17 points, so everybody agreed it was a good time not to be in a nail-biter.
"It felt good," said point guard Chris Wilson, who had 13 points, four rebounds, and four assists. "The guys should remember this feeling and how we locked down on defense and should really want to do it again."
The Hawks had to overcome a rocky start as Loyola jumped out to an 18-7 lead before St. Joseph's got a major lift off the bench from freshman guard Shavar Newkirk. In 12 first-half minutes he had four points, two assists, two steals, and no turnovers.
"The energy from Shavar Newkirk turned the game around in the first half," Martelli said.
The Hawks finished the half on a 21-6 run to take a 28-24 lead and then put the game away by opening the second half by scoring 16 of the first 18 points.
"I found out that is my role on the team, so I have embraced it and am running with it," Newkirk said about providing a spark.
Sophomore forward DeAndre' Bembry had 21 points, two shy of his career high. He was dangerous attacking the basket and also hit both of his three-point shots.
"We played great defense and that got us a lot of fastbreak points and helped us on offense," Bembry said.
The Hawks also took Martelli's critical words to heart.
"Everybody worked too hard to get results we were getting," Wilson said. "Tonight everybody played loose and free."