Turnovers leave Martelli scratching his head

Turnovers leave Martelli scratching his head

Dunphy and Martelli on Temple's win over St. Joe's

December 5, 2013, 10:00 am
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Phil Martelli's St. Joe's Hawks had 15 turnovers in Wednesday's loss to Temple. (AP)

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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."