The SJU athletic department made a specific point to play more of the university's basketball games at the Hagan Arena this season. They dragged both Temple and Villanova to the Fieldhouse. That decision appears to have paid off.
With their 82-72 win over the Temple Owls on Saturday night, Saint Joseph's walked off the floor in its final home game of the season with a share of the 2012 Big 5 Title. They will share that championship with the Owls.
The SJU victory snaps two Temple streaks. First, Temple's 11 game win streak in 2012 has come to an end. Second, the Owls' 10 consecutive wins over SJU is now but a 10-1 record in the teams' last 11 meetings. It is the first Saint Joseph's win over Temple since Jan. 26, 2008.
Saint Joseph's win moves the team to 19-11 overall and 9-6 in the Atlantic 10. Temple's loss, meanwhile, drops the Owls to 22-6 and 11-3.
Our (becoming trademark) college basketball assorted notes wrap featuring game notes, postseason scenarios and student rollouts after the jump...
-- Saint Joseph's Langston Galloway led all scorers with 22 points on 6 of 9 shooting from the field and 4 for 6 shooting from three. He offered the SJU home crowd at the Hagan Arena an exaggerated fist pump after his first made jumper of the game. He was locked in from that point on and made dagger after dagger to either stretch his team's lead or keep the Owls at bay.
-- Just as in their first meeting earlier this season, the Temple Owls had absolutely no answer for SJU power forward Ronald Roberts. Coming off the bench, Roberts scored 12 points in 14 minutes in the first half and finished with 18 points and 7 assists. He was absolutely frightening every time he attacked the basket. Roberts is by no means the best player in the city, but he might very well be the single most entertaining, especially against a Temple team who apparently has zero answer for how to guard him.
-- Similarly, Halil Kanacevic, who we expected to be much more of a factor Game 1 at the Apollo, finished with a 14 and 12 double-double. He spent the final five minutes of the game unleashing primal screams in the direction of the SJU student section. He got every meaningful rebound down the stretch and iced the game for all intents and purposes with 3:50 remaining. With SJU up 73-65, Roberts missed two foul shots that could have swung some momentum Temple's way had it not been for Kanacevic grabbing the rebound, getting fouled and making both attempts. After a C.J. Aiken block on one of Temple's signature weak drives to the basket in the final 10 minutes, Kanacevic was there to tip-in a Carl Jones miss and put the Hawks up 10. He back-pedaled down the court (again) screaming at the fans. It was over.
-- In the end, Kanacevic and Roberts on the block were important than Galloway's shooting.
-- Also, Chris Wilson banged a three with 9:42 remaining. That should have been a sign.
-- For Temple, it was all about the fouls. Five Owls -- Juan Fernandez, Khalif Wyatt, Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson, Micheal Eric, Anthony Lee -- finished with four personals. The team tied its season-high for infractions. Fernandez picked up his fourth with more than five minutes remaining that necessitated a prolonged, ineffective offense-defense sub package. The freshman Lee had an especially difficult night, channeling Moses Malone in the worst way possible. He finished with 4 points and 4 fouls in 4 minutes.
-- While we're on the subject, though the officiating didn't cost Temple the game nor hand SJU the win, it did hurt the flow. The contest was physical and it was intended to be from the opening tip. Fouls were inevitable, but it makes little sense to choose to call the ticky-tack hand checks when the guys mauling each other under the basket will force the officials to blow their whistles. Make it two consecutive Big 5 games where the referees tried to assert themselves early, lost control of the game, and spent the remainder of their time mucking up what was left. Again, they didn't hand or cost anyone anything, but they had an impact. That, in and of itself, is bad enough.
-- On the score sheet, Hollis-Jefferson tied Moore for a team-high 15 points. Temple's bigs -- with the exception of the (through no fault of his own) overwhelmed Lee -- came to play, while the guards simply failed to perform at the level they needed to. See, the beauty of Temple's three-headed monster in the backcourt is that if one of them underperforms, another will pick up the slack. Really, since losing Dionte Christmas three seasons ago, that's been Temple's M.O. They don't have "one guy." They have "a number of guys." Unfortunately for the Owls, they always run into a few games a year where that balance actually works against them to the point where everyone slumps. That happened tonight. Wyatt shot 3 for 8 and Fernandez 1 of 7.
-- Juan Fernandez had not taken (by our eye) one his trademark ill-advised one-handed-scoop drives to the basket in probably five or six games. He did it on Temple's first possession Saturday. Like Wilson's three, this should have been a sign.
-- Getting back to the Temple bigs fighting like hell, Micheal Eric posted his fifth double-double of the season with 14 and 14. He appeared as upset with the Hagan Arena's rims as Mr. Roberts. Despite the loss, Hollis-Jefferson and Eric should be commended for their efforts in both assaulting Aiken on the block and for banging bodies with Roberts and Kanacevic under the glass.
-- With a win over St. Bonaventure this coming Wednesday, SJU will clinch a first-round bye and an automatic trip to Atlantic City.
-- With a win over Massachusetts this coming Wednesday, Temple will clinch the A-10 regular season title and the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament.
The Environment / Your Mandatory Rollout Recap
1. This is Hawk BasketbaLLLLLLLLLLL?
2. SJU students, enjoying your assigned seats?
3. I Thought they taught penmanship at catholic schools.
4. CJ, transfer to Nova: All you can do is block
1. 54th Airborne Pops the Cherry Crusade
2. SJU taxes subsidize TU football
3. Sugar Daddies pay ][uition (ed note: If you don't get it, click here)
4. Temple's Dance Team: Discounted on SeekingArrangement.com
5. Juan, you know we don't speak Spanish
6. The Hawk Will Never Die
Amusing SJU Cheers
1. Musically: "You walked, you traveled, you took many steps"
2. To Owls at the line after missed free throws: "You let the whole team down"
3. Some guy sitting two rows behind Tony DiLeo screamed "WHO'S YOUR DADDY!?" to T.J. DiLeo while he was at the line. It was highly amusing.
While traffic (both in and around the building) is an absolute nightmare, the SJU Fieldhouse is a special place. The Hawks would be well served to keep playing in the Hagan Arena.
It's tiny. It's congested. There's too many people. There's not enough room.
In other words, it's everything too many big conference schools will never experience. In other other words, it's awesome. These thoughts extend to the Gola. The Temple kids can chant "high school gym" all they want. I, frankly, never saw any problem with high school gyms.