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Saint Joseph's succumbs to largest home loss of Phil Martelli era

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After dodging first half foul trouble, Saint Joseph's likely went into the locker room at halftime of their game against Villanova with some optimism as they only trailed 39-35 at halftime despite playing several minutes of the first half without Ronald Roberts and Halil Kanacevic.

That optimism was misguided as Villanova blitzed the Hawks in the second half and came away with a 98-68 victory over Saint Joseph's on Saturday night at Hagan Arena.

It was an embarrassing defeat for the Hawks on their home floor against their biggest rival as they were non-existent defensively in the second half.

The Wildcats scored 59 points during their second half barrage, knocking down several uncontested three-pointers. When Villanova wasn't knocking down threes, they were more often than not corralling the offensive rebounds and finding a way to score during the possession.

JayVaughn Pinkston scored six "and-one" buckets during the course of the game on his way to a 27-point performance to lead all scorers.

Looking at the final score, it will probably be hard to believe that Saint Joseph's actually led this game at a point fairly late in the first half.

DeAndre Bembry, quite possibly the only bright spot for the Hawks in this game, hit a jumper which gave Saint Joseph's a 30-23 lead with 5:21 to play in the first half, capping a 7-0 run for the Hawks.

Villanova outscored Saint Joseph's 75-30 over the final 25:02 of the game to set up the horrific scoreline.

There were breakdowns all over the court for Saint Joseph's. On the offensive end, the Hawks rushed several three-point looks while also missing several lay-ups and point blank looks, especially early in the second half.

Meanwhile, Villanova showed Saint Joseph's what can happen to a team that does not adequately guard the three-point line as the Wildcats were 9-of-14 from three-point range in the second half.

In addition to Pinkston's 27 points, James Bell chipped in with 25 points while hitting 5-of-10 three-point attempts. Bell finished with a double-double as he also scooped up 14 rebounds in the win.

Langston Galloway led St. Joe's with 18 points while Bembry, playing with a knee brace on, finished with 17 points and was the most impressive Hawk on the floor.

Counting The Palestra as a home court, this was the largest margin of defeat for Saint Joseph's in a home game since a January 3, 1985 setback against Temple.

If you don't want to count The Palestra or the old Philadelphia Center as a home court, you would have to go back to the 1940's to find a larger margin of defeat in a home game for Saint Joseph's.

This also marked the third largest margin of defeat in any game during the Phil Martelli era, with games against Xavier and Charlotte which took place within a week of each other during February of 2010 being the only bigger defeats during a horrendous 11-20 campaign.

Saint Joseph's now has an 11-day break between games as finals week is coming upon the Saint Joseph's University community. The Hawks are next in action on December 18th when they host Drexel in a City Six showdown. The match-up with the Dragons is scheduled for a 7 p.m. tip-off and will be broadcast locally on The Comcast Network.



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