St. Joe’s men fall to Central Florida in Myrtle Beach Invitational
With the loss, the Hawks (3-1) will play the loser of Friday night's West Virginia/Western Kentucky game on Sunday at 4:30 for third place in the tournament.
CONWAY, S.C. — Maybe another day to get ready would have made a difference. Then again maybe it wouldn't have.
Coming back in less than 24 hours in the second day of the Myrtle Beach Invitational, St. Joe's got blown out by the University of Central Florida, 77-57, at the HTC Center on the campus of Coastal Carolina University.
With the loss St. Joe's (3-1) will play the loser of Friday night's West Virginia/Western Kentucky game, Sunday at 4:30 p.m. for third place in the tourney.
Central Florida (3-1) will play the winner of that game for the championship Sunday at 6:30.
"We were tired, mentally tired, too,'' coach Phil Martelli said. "I told the team the next time we play back to back, if we lose the second game we'll be collecting the uniforms because the season will be over. But this is November, hopefully this gets us ready for March.''
There are probably easier teams to prepare for then the Knights, who feature 7-foot-6 Tacko Fall and his shorter teammate 6-foot-11 Collin Smith.
"It wasn't like we were confused by them,'' Martelli said. "So from that I don't know if another day would have helped. It was their defense. Their defense is good on tape and it's outstanding in person.''
Fall, who packs close to 320 pounds on that 7-6 frame, was a factor at both ends. Offensively he scored a season-high 12 points and the Knights ran their offense through him. Defensively, he blocked four shots and affected several others and was just too much near the rim.
"This was probably my best game,'' Fall said. "I felt very comfortable. We knew they were a good shooting team. But we're a good defensive team. We hang our hat on our defense.''
Central Florida parlayed a 10-0 run midway through the first half into a 10-point halftime lead of 40-30 over the Hawks.
St. Joe's made four of its first five 3-pointers and was 4-for-7 from the field to start the game. Then made just five of their next 19 shots and just two of their next eight attempts from 3-point range.
For the game the Hawks shot 21-for-55 and 9-for-25 from 3-point range.
Pleased with the balanced scoring he saw in the tournament-opening win over Wake Forest, Martelli wasn't happy with two just players Taylor Funk (14 first-half points, 5-for-7, 4-for-4 from 3-point range) and Charlie Brown Jr. (11 points, 4-for-10) scoring 25 of the Hawks' 30 first-half points.
The other six Hawks who played in the first half shot a combined 2-for-13 and managed just five points. It didn't get any better in the second half. For the game, Brown (28) and Funk (16) had 44 of the Hawks 57 points. The rest of the team had 13 points and shot 5-for-27.
"We're a balanced team,'' Martelli said. "We like four guys in double figures. We like to [score] in the 70s. But all credit to their defense.''
With the score tied at 22-all, the Knights went on the 10-0 run, getting eight of those 10 points from junior guard Frank Bertz. Those eight points were six more than Bertz had scored in his first three games combined.
"I liked the rhythm early,'' Martelli said. "It was 22-22 early and then we hit a wall.''
The UCF lead grew to 12 before Funk and Brown both connected from three-point range to get the lead down to six. But junior guard Terrell Allen, a transfer from Drexel, hit a short jumper and a drive at the buzzer to push the lead back to 10.