As many people expected, the atmosphere at Hagan Arena was flat in the first half for Wednesday night's game against Drexel. Unfortunately, the Saint Joseph's Hawks came out equally as flat and trailed by as many as nine points before entering the locker room fortunate to only be behind 27-23.
Understandably, Hawks coach Phil Martelli was less than pleased with his team at the halftime interval.
"We did a little early Season's Greetings in the locker room," the veteran Hawks coach quipped after the game.
Martelli's words seemed to inspire the Hawks as they dominated the second half on their way to a commanding 75-55 victory over the Dragons to put a halt to Saint Joseph's two-game losing skid.
Saint Joseph's (5-4) went on a 9-2 run to open the second half with Halil Kanacevic scoring 7 of the Hawks 9 points during the spurt which gave Saint Joseph's a 32-29 lead with 16:51 to play.
The Hawks would never trail again as they continued to force Drexel (7-3) into contested shots while St. Joe's began to develop a rhythm on the offensive end.
The Dragons had no answer for Kanacevic on the inside as the senior forward finished with a career-high 27 points on 12-of-13 shooting from the field while also grabbing 14 rebounds in the victory.
Just a couple of minutes later, the Hawks went on another run, this time scoring ten consecutive points as another Kanacevic lay-up gave St. Joe's a 42-32 lead with 13:27 remaining.
With just over five minutes to play, Kanacevic found DeAndre Bembry with a beautiful pass to set up Bembry for a three-pointer which gave the Hawks a 16-point advantage with 5:12 to play.
45 seconds later, Bembry put the exclamation point on this contest after a length of the court pass from Kanacevic found the impressive freshman, who slammed the ball home to give the Hawks a 21-point lead, putting the game out of reach for the Dragons.
It was in stark contrast to the first half where St. Joe's could not get anything going on the offensive end, committing ten turnovers while shooting a putrid 1-of-7 from the free throw line in the opening half.
Drexel took care of the ball during the first half, only committing two turnovers, but did not take full advantage of the Hawks first half struggles. The Dragons failed to make a three-point attempt during the entire game and shot only 13-of-25 from the free throw line for the game.
In addition to Kanacevic's career night, Bembry added 18 points in another impressive performance for the freshman, while the back-court duo of Langston Galloway and Chris Wilson each chipped in with 11 points in the St. Joe's victory.
Tavon Allen was the only Drexel player in double-figures, finishing with 20 points in the losing effort.
Saint Joseph's hits the road for their next contest as they will face off against Loyola (MD) on Saturday afternoon with tip-off scheduled for 2 p.m. in Baltimore.
* Saint Joseph's only shot 10-of-22 from the free throw line for the game and has only made 64% of their free throws on the season.
* Three Saint Joseph's players graduated from the University on Tuesday: Halil Kanacevic, Langston Galloway and Eric Kindler.
* Drexel has not won at Saint Joseph's since 1978.