Denver (7-7) at Saint Joseph's (8-4)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 4, 2 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Hagan Arena (4,200) -- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Television: None. Home Record: Denver 4-2, SJU 4-2. Away Record: Denver 2-3, SJU 2-1. Neutral Record: Denver 1-2, SJU 2-1. Conference Record: Denver 0-0, SJU 0-0. Series Record: Saint Joseph's leads, 1-0.
GAME NOTES: The Saint Joseph's Hawks gear up for their Atlantic 10 Conference opener with a non-league bout against the visiting Denver Pioneers on Saturday afternoon.
The Pioneers are also just a game away from opening up conference play in the Summit League. Denver played St. Francis (PA) on Tuesday in its most recent outing, earning an 83-61 victory to climb back to the .500 mark (7-7). The Pioneers, who are just 2-3 in true road games this season, will visit South Dakota next Saturday to kick off league play.
This is the finale of a three-game homestand for the Hawks, which began with wins over Boston University (73-67) and Binghamton (71-44). Saint Joseph's has won four straight overall and is sitting at 8-4 on the campaign with a date against No. 23 Massachusetts on Wednesday its first in conference action.
It has been quite awhile since these teams have met. In the only other matchup, the Hawks claimed a 59-41 victory during the 1947-48 season.
Chris Udofia missed only one of his eight shots from the floor and tallied 20 points and seven assists to lead Denver past St. Francis (PA). The Pioneers shot a scorching 60.8 percent from the floor as a team, and assisted on 24 of their 31 field goals.
Posting a point total in the 80s was out of character for Denver, which is netting just 66.2 ppg and shooting 43.3 percent from the floor for the season. The Pioneers have managed to remain competitive by holding foes to just 65.3 ppg, although they surrender a .478 field goal percentage and collect just 28.7 rpg. Brett Olson (14.8 ppg, 3.7 apg) and Udofia (13.1 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 3.8 apg) do most of the heavy lifting for Denver in terms of scoring. Fellow starters Jalen Love (9.1 ppg) and Cam Griffin (8.4 ppg, 7.2 rpg) also get in the mix, while Marcus Byrd (8.6 ppg) provides a spark off the bench for a team that does not have much depth.
Saint Joseph's got off to a fast start against Binghamton earlier in the week, and never looked back. The Hawks, who led 39-15 at halftime, shot at an even 50 percent clip in the contest, including 14-of-26 from beyond the arc. They also cleaned up on the glass with a 48-21 rebounding advantage.
Langston Galloway scored 20 points to pace the Hawks in that win, much as he has throughout this season. The senior guard is netting 17.2 ppg, which is the top mark on a team that features five players scoring more than nine ppg. Ronald Roberts (15.9 ppg, 7.2 rpg) is another solid scoring option, as well as a strong performer on the glass. DeAndre Bembry (10.3 ppg) also provides some offensive spark, as does Chris Wilson (9.8 ppg) and leading rebounder Halil Kanacevic (9.2 ppg, 8 rpg). However, Phil Martelli's squad suffers from a lack of depth with no reserve scoring more than five ppg.
Depth aside, the Hawks have a much more talented roster and should have no problem keeping their winning streak alive.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Saint Joseph's 76, Denver 67
01/04 10:44:59 ET