Turnovers leave Martelli scratching his head


Turnovers leave Martelli scratching his head


Phil Martelli entered the media room at the Liacouras Center, sat down, and began to outline the difference between good character and good basketball.

Speeches like that usually don't come after wins. Wednesday night was no exception.

"The team that we have has really great character, and really good people in the room," he said. "And I told them just now that they have to separate what I was going to tell them about basketball with who they are as individual people. They really are strong character guys.

"But on the basketball court tonight, we made plays that were young. Plays that with our age, we shouldn't make."

About 15 of them.

St. Joe's (4-3, 0-1 Big 5) played Temple (4-3, 2-0) tight Wednesday night but ultimately faded down the stretch and lost, 77-69 (see Instant Replay).

The Hawks ended up turning the ball over 15 times, and even though those giveaways resulted in only 13 Temple points, that's 15 times St. Joe's forfeited opportunities to score. Not to mention ...

"Missed dunks, missed layups, dropped balls, a missed assignment," Martelli detailed. "I mean, a simple assignment, staring right at you. You block out a [free throw] shooter at the end (see story).

"So that's on me. ... A more manly approach needed to be pulled out of them."

Which hasn't been the case in St. Joe's last two meetings against Temple. In those two games, both played on Hawk Hill over the last two seasons, 6-foot-8 forwards Ron Roberts and Halil Kanacevic often abused Temple underneath.

They looked like they were on their way to doing it again after the first half. Roberts entered the break with 11 points and six rebounds as Kanacevic scored seven and pulled down eight boards.

And then, in the second half, they both disappeared.

With Kanacevic, it was foul trouble, something that was common on Wednesday for players on both teams. He picked up his second, third and fourth fouls seven minutes into the second, and had to spend the rest of the game out of rhythm on offense-defense substitutions. After his fourth foul, Kanacevic went 0 for 2 from the floor without a point or a rebound, ending with 11 points and nine boards.

Roberts stayed on the floor, but was strangely ineffective. He didn't score in the second half until there were only 40 seconds left. He was cut on the head midway through the half after being called for an offensive foul -- his elbow left Temple's Devonate Watson gasping for air -- but Martelli said after the game that Roberts suffered no ill-effects other than minor bleeding that quickly stopped.

He finished with 13 points and eight rebounds. What did Temple finally do to solve the problem of Roberts, who came into the game averaging 18.5 points and 7.3 rebounds but posted just two and two in the second half?

"I don't know," Martelli said. "I don't know. We'll have to look at it. He had 13 shots and five turnovers. So that's 18 times he had the ball in his hands. That's a pretty good number.

"You know, it's another world, to be honest with you. Now he has to accept the challenge of being this highly touted. And he'll do that, because like I said, he has great character."

Senior Langston Galloway and freshman DeAndre Bembry were the other two Hawks in double figures.

Galloway did all he could to keep his team in the game, dropping a game-high 24 points on 8 for 16 shooting from the floor and 6 for 12 shooting from three. Sixteen of his 24 came in the second half. Problem was, if you remove Galloway, St. Joe's was 0 for 14 from behind the arc.

Bembry finished with 10 and was heating up himself before he hit his head on the floor. He subbed out for just under two minutes and was holding the back of his head and neck on the bench before returning to the game.

Martelli said afterwards that Bembry does not have a concussion but that he would be watched overnight by the training staff.

Outside of those four players, the rest of the team scored just nine points, and was outscored by Temple's bench 25-2.

"You take what you have," Martelli said. "Langston was getting his stuff of offense. He had the ability to do that. DeAndre had a run there in the second half. But we needed a complete offensive [effort].

"Halil is the most indispensable player we have on offense. We run so much of our offense through him and he spent I think about eight or ten minutes on the bench there.

"So I'm not leaving here worried about offense. ... I'm worried about the turnovers and some of our decision-making."

The Hawks coughed it up 15 times Wednesday night. They'll have to get cleaned up before they host No. 14 Villanova on Saturday. The Wildcats are forcing 16.3 turnovers per game thanks to the re-emergence of their half-court trap.

"Some of these numbers jump out at you," Martelli said. "We haven't been shooting foul shots well, and we shot foul shots well (13 for 16). You get 17 offensive rebounds.

"But the number that we leave here with is the turnovers. It's too many, and many of them were ... somewhat head-scratching, to be honest with you."

Ex-Penn State TE Brent Wilkerson gets probation for indecent assault

USA Today Images

Ex-Penn State TE Brent Wilkerson gets probation for indecent assault

BELLEFONTE, Pa. — A former Penn State football player will serve five years' probation and register as a sex offender after pleading guilty to indecent assault.

Twenty-two-year-old Brent Wilkerson was sentenced Tuesday after pleading guilty in connection with a February outing to several bars with a young woman and others.

Police say Wilkerson was drunk but the woman was sober when he insisted on making sure she got home safe.

The woman tells police Wilkerson pushed her upstairs to her bedroom where he fell asleep. The woman says she went to bed later and woke up to find Wilkerson kissing and fondling her and fondling himself. He later apologized in a text message.

Wilkerson was kicked off the team in March. Court records say he lives in Clinton, Maryland.

Villanova's new task: Dealing with distraction of being the reigning champ

Villanova's new task: Dealing with distraction of being the reigning champ

VILLANOVA, Pa. — No matter how hard they guard against it, the Villanova Wildcats always end up finding themselves talking about April. Talking about the magical shot from the hands of Kris Jenkins. Talking about finally getting over the second-round demons and winning a national championship.

They deal with it on campus, off campus and in the media.

It comes with the territory.

“Very few teams right now are talking about last year,” coach Jay Wright said. 

Very few teams had the storybook ending Wright’s team had.

“Every time we talk to somebody, the first thing we talk about is last year,” Wright said. “We’ve talked about it as a team that’s something we’re going to have to deal with. The last couple years we’ve dealt with talking about losing in the second round, too. So we have a little bit of practice. But it is a great challenge and something we address every day.”

Villanova basketball held its annual media day Tuesday, and naturally, many of the conversations with Wright and his players started with the last six months and how their lives have changed.

Jenkins, whose three-pointer beat the buzzer to win the national title, was immediately surrounded by cameras and microphones.

How many times have you watched the shot?

“Recently, I haven’t really watched it,” Jenkins said. 

“It’s already behind me. We’re focused and ready to go this year.”

Long gone are the days when Wright and Co. could go unnoticed in the Philadelphia area. 

“It’s one of the great things about the Villanova job,” Wright said. “We get a lot of great media attention being in Philadelphia. It’s a great college basketball town. But you always can go wherever you want. ... For right now, it’s a little different. I have a feeling as the season wears on it will settle down. It’s worse for Kris Jenkins, I’ve seen that. ... Josh Hart, too.”

“Life changed a little bit,” Jenkins said. “But as far as basketball, coming to work, trying to get better, that part hasn’t changed.”

That sentiment, and the laser-like focus Jenkins and others talked about Tuesday, is the same day-to-day approach Wright’s teams have become synonymous with lately. 

Leave it to a Wright-coached player to find a negative in the attention and diversions.

Hart, a senior like Jenkins, spoke Tuesday about the difficulties of preparing for this year with all the distractions. Surely it’s a problem 300-plus other basketball teams would love to deal with.

But Hart said a Villanova summer — like many others around the college basketball world — is about staying conditioned, working out as a team and getting used to the new faces on the roster. He described how he’d see a few good days of work get halted by going to the ESPYs. A few more good days of work were put on hold to go to the White House, where each champion shook hands and spoke with president Barack Obama.

“Don’t get me wrong, I would not change it for anything, but it’s been tough,” Hart said. “Every time we’re focused on this year, in some shape we’ll be brought back to the national championship.”

Just a hunch, Hart and the others don’t mind it all that much.