St. Joseph's seemed to be in pretty good shape Saturday late in the first half against No. 4 Villanova, trailing by only two points with less than four minutes remaining and playing a hustling defense that appeared to bother the Wildcats.
But the visitors then started raining threes at Hagan Arena, making four in a 12-0 run at the end of the half and three more in a 14-2 spurt at the start of the second. The Hawks didn't have the firepower to match and wound up shooting 32.8 percent in a 94-53 loss.
"We had some guys start to play faster and faster and faster," St. Joseph's coach Phil Martelli said. "We didn't have enough answers at the offensive end. We've been scoring the ball all year. I think in the first half we ended up taking 30 shots. We would like to have a few more but plays at the rim … we missed a 1-and-1, they hit a three."
With guard Lamarr Kimble out for the season with a broken bone in his left foot and the return of forward Charlie Brown (broken bone in his left wrist) yet to be determined, the Hawks need more scorers. Martelli said he didn't think anyone was pressing to become that extra scorer against the Wildcats but he thought his team went "a little fast in our shot routine."
"Instead of stopping and shooting comfortably, I think we have guys that rush to get the ball out of their hands," he said. "There's a pretty decent quality of shots. We occasionally have guys that dribble around and think they can raise up. That's like a pickup game shot.
"Hopefully we'll get Charlie back, he's a shot maker. Shavar (Newkirk) will get more conditioned, he'll be a shot maker. But right now, we rush to take shots so fast, you can't make that shot. You can't make it in practice, you couldn't make it in an empty gym, let alone a contested shot."
Newkirk, who slowly is returning to game shape after sitting out the second half of last season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, said he felt the Hawks might have rushed because of Villanova's effective press.
"It took 12 seconds (off the shot clock) before we could get into our offense," said Newkirk, who scored 10 points on 4-of-13 shooting. "When you've got to get into your offense with a lower shot clock, you're going to be rushed. I felt like if we had broken the press faster, it could have helped us get into our offense quicker, have a better pace."