Dayton Flyers fans who cursed their luck when Josh Cunningham missed the first two games with a wrist injury or when Jhery Matos suffered a season-ending foot injury in November need only look at the St. Joseph’s roster for perspective.
A team picked second in the Atlantic 10 Conference preseason poll has seen its season derailed by an assortment of injuries. The Hawks had seven scholarship players available for its last game against Penn, and this followed two seasons in which it lost some of its best players for the entire season. The Hawk may never die, as the saying goes, but he’s not immune to a host of other maladies.
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Phil Martelli, who has coached in the A-10 longer than any current coach (since 1995), has seen his team suffer four double-digit losses in seven A-10 games.
“Many, many people reach out, and they say, ‘When’s the last time you had a good night’s sleep?’” Martelli said earlier this month. “It hasn’t happened for a long time.”
The Hawks (9-11, 2-5) play the Flyers (13-7, 5-2) at UD Arena at 8 p.m. Tuesday. Here are three questions that will be answered during the game:
1. Who won’t play for St. Joseph’s?
Pierfrancesco Oliva, a junior forward averaging 3.7 points and 5.6 rebounds per game, dislocated his left knee during a game against Duquesne on Jan. 12 and will miss the rest of the season.
Lamarr Kimble, a redshirt junior guard averaging 16.3 points per game, has been sidelined indefinitely since breaking his right hand in that same game. He also missed all but one game last season after reinjuring the foot that cost him the last seven games of the 2016-17 season.
Anthony Longpre, a sophomore forward averaging 4.1 points and 4.4 rebounds per game, missed his second straight game Saturday against Penn with a concussion.
2. Can an injury-ravaged Hawks team pull an upset?
Just two weeks ago, St. Joseph’s beat Davidson 61-60. Chris Clover hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 59 seconds left, and Davidson missed its last five shots and a free-throw attempt in the final two minutes.
This victory looks more impressive by the day as Davidson (15-5, 6-1) keeps winning. The Wildcats have beaten four of the other five teams — George Mason, Virginia Commonwealth, Saint Louis and Duquesne — at the top of the standings.
“In this league, anything can happen,” said Dayton coach Anthony Grant on Saturday after a 75-52 victory at Fordham. “You better bring your best every single night.”
3. How well will the Hawks shoot the ball from long range?
Dayton ranks fourth in the A-10 in 3-point shooting percentage (33.2). St. Joseph’s ranks ninth (32.0) or 13th (28.1) if you count only A-10 games.
The Hawks shoot more 3s than any other team in the conference. They made 6 of 30 in a 68-57 loss to Saint Louis and made 3 of 24 against Penn.
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Charlie Brown is the team’s biggest threat from long range. He has made 44 of 110 (44 percent). He leads the A-10 with 20 points per game.
“St. Joe’s is extremely talented,” Grant said. “They’ve got some really good players, a hall of fame coach. We’ve got to be ready.”
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