SJU readies to host Richmond Wednesday in A-10 action

Matt Leon
January 22, 2019 - 3:20 pm
Saint Joseph's University head coach Phil Martelli.

Saint Joseph's University Athletics

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The Saint Joseph's University Hawks will be home on Wednesday night for an Atlantic 10 battle with Richmond at Hagan Arena.

The Hawks fell to 8-10 (1-5 A-10) last time out with a 68-57 loss in St. Louis to the Billikens. Saint Louis University blew open a close game with a 23-0 second half run and held off the Hawks down the stretch.

SJU has been adjusting to life without some key players in Pierfrancesco Oliva and Lamarr "Fresh" Kimble. Oliva is out for the season with a knee injury while Kimble is sidelined indefinitely with a fractured hand.

"We also lost Anthony Longpre, our starter at the center spot (against Saint Louis)," head coach Phil Martelli said. "He's now in concussion protocol. So three of our top six guys (are sidelined), but we play the cards that we're dealt."

Martelli talks about players stepping up as they deal with all the injuries.

"A guy like (senior guard) Chris Clover had a big performance against Davidson last week (18 points), helped us get that win, lifted us up," Martelli said. "(Freshman guard) Jared Bynum's taking on a lot of the load here. Without 'Fresh' in the game he's obviously the primary ball-handler, backed up by Charlie Brown. Going into the year, when somebody would say, 'Who has to step forward?' I would say everybody had to step forward, everybody had to improve and the same is true now. We're basically playing with seven scholarship players, but a guy like (grad student guard) Troy Holston, who hasn't played much, (redshirt senior forward) Markell Lodge hasn't played much, (redshirt sophomore forward) Lorenzo Edwards, all of those guys move up. We cannot go into a game preparing excuses, we have to go into every game preparing to win."

Richmond has had its share of struggles so far this season as well. The Spiders are 7-11 (1-4 A-10) and they have lost four of their last five games. Last time out on Saturday, they lost on the road to Davidson, 75-62.

"It's a fast-paced offense, averaging about (70) points a game," Martelli said. "They have three players in Grant Golden, Jacob Gilyard and (Nathan) Cayo at the power forward spot, each of those guys has had (20 or more point) games this year. So the concern is really making sure that those match-ups are won. We have to win those particular match-ups."

Martelli says the Spiders will present a challenge when his team has the ball as well. 

"Their defense is unique in that they play a match-up zone," he said. "We don't see much of that."

Last season, the Hawks beat the Spiders down in Virginia, 72-70.

Wednesday night's game gets underway at 7.00 p.m.

You can follow Matt on Twitter @Mattleon1060.