St. Joe's Halil Kanacevic Flipped off the Pavilion Crowd, Then Gave Away the Game

St. Joe's Halil Kanacevic Flipped off the Pavilion Crowd, Then Gave Away the Game

It's the cardinal rule of college basketball:

If you're going to flip off an opposing student section, be sure to hit your free throws.

It's a rule St. Joseph's junior forward Halil Kanacevic learned the hard way Tuesday night.

Kanacevic, who had been struggling for the first 30 minutes of his team's 65-61 loss to Villanova, hit a three with 9:56 to play to put the Hawks up three, 50-47. Immediately thereafter, while jogging backwards down the floor on defense, he lifted his hands in the air to taunt the Villanova student section. The three would prove his only field goal of the night.

Later, with 45.8 seconds left and Saint Joseph's up, 61-60, Kanacevic rimmed two free throws, allowing the Wildcats' James Bell to go down the other end and knock down the game-winning three.

Just over 40 seconds later, with 3.5 to play, Kanacevic attempted to inbound the ball off Villanova's Maurice Sutton before he could be whistled for a five-second violation. Rather than getting another chance to pass it in, Kanacevic had the ball ricochet off Sutton and then off his own body, giving Villanova the basketball and the game.

These postgame quotes courtesy CSNPhilly's Matt Haughton:

"I did not [see it] (Kanacevic's hand gesture) ‘cause there was a timeout called and I saw people coming off the court. I didn’t see it," St. Joe's coach Phil Martelli said.

"One of the things that we will mention to them is that on the road you
play to silence. That’s all you want. It certainly wasn’t a raucous
atmosphere up until that point, but I’ll look at it and see. I don’t
think it made us play faster or out of character. We just made some
out-of-character plays and plays that were home runs instead of singles.


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"He (Kanacevic) seemed a little bothered during the game,” said Bell, who finished
tied with JayVaughn Pinkston for a team high with 12 points. “The ref
had came to him at the free throw line one time while he was shooting
and told him, ‘Don’t worry about the crowd. Don’t say nothing.’ He just
continued to let it get to him and he didn’t have the best attitude.”

Kanacevic finished with four points, four assists and a game-high five turnovers on 1 of 3 shooting from the floor and 1 of 4 shooting from the foul line.

Nerlens Noel to get one-on-one experience while Sixers on road

Nerlens Noel to get one-on-one experience while Sixers on road

Being immersed in the team is important for Nerlens Noel, and so is continuing his rehab. 

While the Sixers are on the road for three days to play the Grizzlies and Pelicans, Noel will remain in Philadelphia to work out at the training complex in Camden, New Jersey. The team is not scheduled to practice in between games, so staying back allows Noel another day to get on the court.

“[I want him to] just start playing more and have a ball in his hands, get hit, physical, feel people, play one-on-one,” head coach Brett Brown said.

Noel has yet to play this season because of elective arthroscopic left knee surgery in October. He rejoined the Sixers after completing the first phase of his rehab in Birmingham, Alabama. There still is no timetable for his return. 

Brown has said there is a “classroom” element to Noel’s return. He has to learn a roster with new players and schemes. 

The on-the-court side of it is a reacclimation to the intensity of the league. Regardless of how many games Noel already has played in the NBA, there is an adjustment period getting back into the grind of the competition. Brown believes the time in the gym this week will help Noel prepare for the level of intensity he will face in his return. 

“It’s such fool’s gold to think somebody’s going to jump back into NBA basketball after you haven’t played for so long. I don’t care how athletic he is,” Brown said. “It’s a man’s world, this league, and there’s a physicality and there’s a real-time reaction you have to have to play in the game. You can’t make that up in practice, you can’t make that up playing one-on-one, but you can better position him instead of just going out to get shots. I want him to feel a body, get hit, hit back, play one-on-one, those types of things.”

Noel had been assigned to the Sixers’ Development League affiliate, the Delaware 87ers, to get in practice time when the Sixers had a game. The Sixers may forego another assignment and keep Noel at their facility as the Sevens also have two games in the next three days. 

Joel Embiid finally struggles in Sixers' loss to Nuggets

Joel Embiid finally struggles in Sixers' loss to Nuggets

BOX SCORE

Joel Embiid has been making the NBA look easy. Rookie of the Month honors, five double-doubles in 13 games, seven performances of 20 points or more … all having missed the last two years rehabbing from foot injuries.

Embiid, though, still is a player learning the league. Night’s like Monday’s lackluster showing are going to happen, even if it seemed unexpected against the struggling Denver Nuggets. 

“We’ve been used to seeing Jo have superhuman nights,” Brett Brown said after the Sixers’ 106-98 loss (see Instant Replay). “I thought Joel was down tonight.” 

Embiid tallied a total 16 points (5 for 15 from the field, 1 for 3 from three, 5 for 6 from the line) with four rebounds, one assist, a career-high five blocks, three turnovers and three fouls in 25:32. 

He had a quiet first half with six points (2 for 5 from the field) and one rebound in 9:21. The biggest struggle came in the third quarter. Embiid scored a single point off a free throw and shot 0 for 6 from the floor. By the end of three, he was shooting 18.2 percent. 

The big man said he needed to be better at passing out of the double team. He committed two turnovers in the third. 

“I wasn’t getting to my spot and I wasn’t getting what I’m used to getting,” Embiid said of the first three quarters. “I’m going to go back and watch the tape and see what I did wrong.” 

Embiid bounced back for another Embiid-like offensive effort in the fourth. He dropped nine points off an efficient 3 for 4 shooting in 7:31. Still, it wasn’t enough. 

“I made a couple shots,” Embiid said. “It didn’t help us win, so I don’t think it matters.”

Brown noticed Embiid rushing his game. He also thought Embiid’s balance was off, something the big man has been dealing with all season as he continues to find his legs. 

Embiid will not play in Tuesday's game against the Grizzlies. It is part of his workload management in which he does not play both games of a back-to-back. Expect him to hone in on game film until his next matchup, and get back on the roller coaster that can be a first year in the NBA. 

“It's just part of a young man's growth,” Brown said. “It just happens. I don't think we need to read too deeply into it. I think, in many ways, to expect from time to time not as good of a performance as we have been used to is fair enough.”