City 6 Weekly Awards: Will anyone be dancing in March?

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City 6 Weekly Awards: Will anyone be dancing in March?

In each of the last 35 seasons, at least one of Philadelphias six Division I men's college basketball teams has made the NCAA tournament.

Could that streak get snapped this March?

After another week filled with losses, its looking more and more plausible that Philly could indeed get shut out of the Big Dance for the first time since 1977 which is a surprising possibility considering the big expectations coming into the season.

Lets recap the mostly disappointing week with our weekly awards and power rankings.

Player of the week
Saint Josephs sharpshooter Langston Galloway has been struggling with his shooting for part of the season.

Not this week.

In two games for the Hawks, Galloway shot a blistering 58 percent (11 for 20) from three-point rage and scored at least 20 points in both contests a loss to VCU on Thursday and a win over Penn on Saturday.

Galloway also brought down 12 rebounds, including nine against the Quakers, and seven assists on the week.

Game of the week
Galloways 22-point outing wasnt enough for St. Joes in a 92-86 midweek loss to VCU but the game was still the most thrilling one of the week, if not the year.

Despite being without a key player in Halil Kanacevic (who has missed three straight contests because of a death in his family), the undermanned Hawks were not overmatched against the nationally ranked Rams, who lead the nation in steals.

It looked like St. Joes would be able to pull off the signature win when it held a very late four-point lead but collapsed in the final seconds and then ran out of gas in overtime. Still, the Hawks made a lot of big plays and adapted well to VCUs frenetic style in a tough road environment.

Play of the week
Local hoops fans certainly know that La Salle has a bunch of high-flyers on its team and now a lot more people know, too.

In a 72-70 home win over Dayton on Wednesday (see story), the Explorers finished four consecutive possessions with dunks, three of them coming from Ramon Galloway.

That was good enough to land a spot on that nights SportsCenter Top 10, which you can watch here.

Quote of the week
I think maybe youre overrating us. Yeah, I think so. Were not as good as people maybe think we are. Temple head coach Fran Dunphy, after an 81-78 home loss to St. Bonaventure on Saturday (see story).

Stat of the week
Both La Salle and St. Joes are averaging over seven three-pointers made per game. The Hawks are 45th in Division I in the category (7.8) and the Explorers rank 74th (7.3).

Games to watch this week
If you want to get a live look at some of the best teams in the nation this week, the Wells Fargo Center is the place to be as Louisville faces Villanova on Tuesday and Syracuse plays Nova there four days later.

Another nationally ranked program homes to town Wednesday as La Salle hosts Butler in what figures to be a very exciting Atlantic 10 matchup at Tom Gola Arena. Brad Stevens red-hot Bulldogs play another Philly team Saturday when they host Temple.

Speaking of Temple, the Owls will look to go 2-0 in the Big 5 on Wednesday when Fran Dunphy meets his old Penn team at the Liacouras Center.

Other big games this week include Xavier vs. St. Joes on Saturday and La Salle at VCU the same day. And lets not forget Fridays Big 5 Hall of Fame induction ceremony at the Palestra, with former St. Joes star Marvin OConnor among the inductees being honored.

Power rankings
1. Saint Josephs (10-6): The Hawks definitely should have beaten VCU but a road loss against a nationally ranked team is still nothing to be ashamed about. And responding by routing a Penn team that rarely gets blown out was impressive, especially without Kanacevic. The Hawks have two home games this week (against St. Bonaventure on Wednesday and Xavier on Saturday) and need to win both to show they belong in the upper echelon of the Atlantic 10.

2. Temple (12-5): The Owls had a rough week, barely surviving a below-.500 George Washington team before losing to Saint Bonaventure at home for the first time ever. Dunphys claim that his team might be overrated could be true, but the fact that the Owls beat Syracuse and nearly beat Kansas shows the potential is there. We could learn a lot about this group when they head to historic Hinkle Field House to take on a Butler team that just knows how to win.

3. La Salle (12-5): The Explorers midweek win over a strong Dayton squad was a good one and their Saturday loss to a Xavier team that never loses at home is not a bad one. But to get on the NCAA tourney bubble, La Salle needs a signature victory. And this is the week to get one as it faces both of the Atlantic 10 newcomers-turned Atlantic 10 favorites in Butler and VCU.

4. Villanova (11-7): The Wildcats also had a rough week, allowing Pittsburgh to score the final 15 points in a 58-43 loss Wednesday (see story) and then dropping a 69-66 decision to Catholic Seven comrade Providence on Saturday. Now the Wildcats have three straight games against nationally ranked foes, traveling to Notre Dame on Jan. 30 following Louisville and Syracuses visits to the Wells Fargo Center this week.

5. Drexel (6-11): The Dragons played only one game this week and it was a success, as they beat William & Mary on the road to snap a three-game losing streak. Drexel, which is still battling injury problems, should be able to now go on a three-game winning streak. The Dragons take on Hofstra on the road on Wednesday and host Georgia State on Saturday both of which are relatively easy matchups.

6. Penn (3-14): After eight straight losses, the Quakers finally won the 1,700th game in program history by virtue of a 54-53 victory over New Jersey Institute of Technology on Thursday. Despite that win, however, the Quakers turned the ball over a season-high 26 times. And two days later, they shot a woeful 4 for 21 from three-point range in a 20-point loss to St. Joes. The Quakers play their final non-conference game and final game in the month of January against Temple on Wednesday.

St. Joe's can't overcome Phil Martelli's ejection in loss to St. Bonaventure

St. Joe's can't overcome Phil Martelli's ejection in loss to St. Bonaventure

BOX SCORE

A coach receiving an ejection usually fires up a team. Phil Martelli’s ejection in the second half Wednesday night set St. Joe’s back against St. Bonaventure, as the Hawks lost, 83-77, at Hagen Arena (see Instant Replay).

In the middle of the second half, St. Joe’s held possession for four straight plays thanks to offensive rebounds. The Hawks were trying desperately to trim a 59-55 deficit to a one-possession game.

For nearly a minute and a half, the Hawks had four attempts to score before Brendan Casper drove the lane, drawing contact — a foul that would go in the Bonnies' favor.

Martelli went ballistic, a move that would result in two technical fouls and an automatic ejection. The head coach left the court as boos showered the officials and chants of Martelli's name rained down from the stands.

St. Bonavenure’s deadliest offensive weapon of the night, Matt Mobley, drained all four free throws to make it a 63-55 game.

"There was a play in front of me, maybe it was 50-50, I have no idea,” Martelli said. “And all heck broke loose. I’ll have to look at the film and figure it out. Now the second guy warned me, he didn’t just fly off the handle.”

James Demery, who led St. Joe's with 21 points, wouldn't use his coach's tossing as an excuse for the failed rally.

“It is tough but at the end of the day," Demery said, "we still have to continue playing and keep that energy high."

Martelli’s ejection certainly was a turning point, but it wasn’t the only reason the Hawks lost. The coach described it best: “It still comes back to the numbers for me: turnovers and foul shooting.”

The Hawks went 18 for 27 from the free throw line, 3 for 18 from beyond the arc and had 15 turnovers, which were converted into 24 points for the Bonnies.

The numbers don't lie, but Martelli never wavered when asked about the effort his team put forward — instead, he offered there needs to be improvements made.

“It’s not will, it’s skill. It’s skill,” Martelli said. “I don’t have any question about their efforts. Their skill, and that’s not an excuse, but with the limited bodies, we just don’t get enough skill.”

With four minutes remaining, the Hawks found themselves down, 72-62, and all hope seemingly lost. But a small surge brought St. Joe's to within three with 26 seconds left to play. Charlie Brown went 4 for 4 from the free throw line, Demery added a layup and Chris Clover drained a three during the stretch. Nick Robinson capped it off with a three, whittling St. Bonaventure's lead down to 78-75.

“We don’t give up over here, everybody on this team has heart,” Demery said. “Every day we are going to go out there and give 110 percent. There’s some plays we didn’t finish. I mean, I had five turnovers, so we just have to finish.”

The Hawks tried to foul to stop the clock but the Bonnies were too efficient from the free throw line. The charity stripe and lack of time were St. Joe's ultimate demise.

In Robinson’s mind, his effort still wasn’t enough.

“If I would have made three free throws, we would have been tied,” Robinson said, referencing the three free throws he missed earlier in the game.

“We picked up the intensity and the positive energy,” Demery said of the late surge. “That’s what we need as a unit to be great. Everybody lifting each other up, that’s what it takes.”

The Hawks' next game will be at Saint Louis this Saturday (4:30 p.m./NBCSN).

No. 2 Villanova's run at the Pavilion ends at 48 with loss to No. 22 Butler

No. 2 Villanova's run at the Pavilion ends at 48 with loss to No. 22 Butler

BOX SCORE

VILLANOVA, Pa. -- It started with 9:37 left in the game with a foul shot by Kelan Martin, and it ended with 4:18 left with a three-pointer by Martin.

In between, nothing went right for Villanova.

It was a 5½-minute nightmare.

No. 22 Butler ran off 18 straight points against No. 2 Villanova, turning a seven-point deficit into an 11-point lead, and then hung on for a 74-66 win over the Wildcats, ‘Nova’s first loss on campus in more than four years (see Instant Replay).

Villanova has lost three games this year, two of them to Butler.

“You have to give them credit,” Villanova sophomore Jalen Brunson said. “They were just hitting every shot. As a team, we just didn’t really lock in defensively. All credit to them for what they were able to do offensively.”

Villanova led 49-42 with just over 9½ minutes left, but during that 5½-minute stretch Butler made 7 of 11 shots – including 4 of 7 threes – to take a 60-52 lead.

Villanova went 6½ minutes without scoring. The Wildcats missed six straight shots and committed two turnovers during that 18-0 run.

“Nothing really changed,” Butler junior forward Kelan Martin said. “We just stuck together.

“We knew we might get punched in the mouth today, it happens on the road, especially with a good team. We responded well and stuck with it and went on a run and just kept grinding it out, possession by possession.”

The loss was the first ever on campus for Josh Hart, Kris Jenkins and the other Villanova seniors. The Wildcats had won 48 straight games at the Pavilion since a 2013 loss to Providence. That was Ryan Arcidiacono's freshman year.

Villanova dropped to 26-3 overall and 13-3 in the Big East, and Butler – which had never won at Villanova – improved to 22-6 and 11-5.

One more Villanova win or Butler loss will still give Villanova the outright Big East Conference title and No. 1 seed in next month’s conference tournament in New York. 

Creighton lost Wednesday night to Providence, leaving Butler and Villanova the only schools that can win the Big East regular-season title. 

“We’ve got to have better attention to detail, and it starts with me,” Hart said. “On the defensive end we got exposed and it started with me and that’s something that we’ve got to have better attention to detail from the seniors and [have it] trickle down.”

Villanova got the lead down to six – with the ball -- with three minutes left and got as close as five during a wild last couple minutes, but Butler made its last eight foul shots to secure the win.

“It seemed like the last couple minutes took an hour,” Martin said.

Brunson shot 9 for 13 for 24 points, but the rest of the Wildcats were a combined 16 for 44.

Hart scored 18, but Jenkins shot 1 for 8 and 1 for 5 from three, Mikal Bridges had just three points and Donte DiVinenczo just six.

“They just played better than us in every phase,” Villanova coach Jay Wright said. “We just have to give them credit. Sometimes you come into a game, and the other team plays better. You try everything and our guys competed to the end, I’m proud of them for that, but we just ran into a team that played better than us tonight in every phase.”

Butler led 8-0 early, but Villanova outscored the Bulldogs 44-28 over the next 22½ minutes and took its biggest lead at 44-36 seven minutes into the second half.

But Butler – down eight against the No. 2 team in the country in a gym where the Wildcats hadn’t lost in four years – kept battling.

“I thought our guys played pretty loose and free and were able to make some open looks against their pressure,” Butler coach Chris Holtmann said. “They’re 15th in the country in defensive efficiency for a reason, but our guys just got into a rhythm and made some open shots.”

Martin had 22 points and eight rebounds for Butler on 7 for 11 shooting. Kamar Baldwin added 15 points before fouling out, and Avery Woodson scored 13.

Butler shot 51 percent and 40 percent from three. Villanova shot just 44 percent and 41 percent in the second half and made just 6 of 24 from the arc – 25 percent.

“Their physicality, we just didn’t handle it well,” Wright said. “We turned it over [and] couldn’t get any assists (eight on 25 baskets).

“They just do a great job of playing every possession. They get down, they don’t do anything different. They just keep grinding, grinding, and try to do the same thing. When they got down, they didn’t crack at all. They just kept executing.

“We didn’t crack either but we just couldn’t get buckets. We didn’t execute well and a lot of it was their defense. They were just a better team than us tonight. We made more mistakes than they did.”