St. Joseph's Basketball: How the Holy War Turned into a Dunk Contest
SJU Dominated the Wildcats
Anyone who orders a "7 and 7" at Brownies or the Great American Pub near St. Joseph's University will now be served with seven blocks and seven dunks.
On an electrifying evening on City Line Avenue, the Hawks of St. Joe's hosted a dunk contest while the Wildcats of Villanova spectated. All the hype that went into this year's rendition of the Holy War certainly lived up to it, as all 4,200 strong at Hagan Arena blew the roof off the place.
From the towering blocks, monstrous dunks, nifty passes and smooth shooting, once SJU grabbed the lead, they never looked back. Villanova came out flat from the start and had no shot at beating the Hawks on this night.
Click ahead to see what the key components were in the Hawks' 74-58 victory over Villanova in the 2011 Holy War.
5. SJU's 7 Blocks
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Coming into the Holy War, SJU had the best shot blocker in the country in C.J. Aiken. Well, he certainly showed why he has that title on Saturday night.
Aiken had four blocks against Villanova. Now these weren't little baby blocks that he barely got a hand on. These blocks were statement blocks. The type of classic blocks where Dikembe Mutombo would wave his pointer finger after denying an opponent.
However, the difference between Mutombo and Aiken's blocks were that Aiken showed zero emotion at any time. Hagan Arena was about to collapse, but you would never know that with the stern look on Aiken's face.
In addition to Aiken's four blocks, Halil Kanacevic added two and Ron Roberts had one block. These seven blocks as a team undoubtedly gave not only the players momentum, but they also fired up the SJU faithful.
4. Sloppy Play by Villanova
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From the tipoff it was apparent the young and inexperienced Wildcats didn't know how to handle the erratic environment.
Villanova, a team who lives and dies by the three, was just 5-for-27 from three-point range, shooting 18.5 percent from behind the arc.
Also, they were 21-for-63 overall, shooting just 33.3 percent. In addition to better shooting, the Hawks also out-rebounded Villanova 42-34.
The big difference maker was, despite the obvious size advantage for Nova, the Hawks dominated the inside game by scoring 44 points, where as the Wildcats racked up only 28 points in the paint.
With these lackluster numbers, combined with the rowdiness of the SJU fans, it was no wonder the Wildcats were prey to the Hawks.
3. Langston Galloway and Carl Jones Lead in Scoring
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Sophomore Langston Galloway led all scorers with 20 points. The Wildcats could not find a way to stop the Baton Rouge native. In addition to his dynamite shooting, Galloway led the Hawks, along with Chris Wilson, with six assists. One of those assists resulted in a Hagan Arena-shaking alley-oop to classmate C.J. Aiken.
Another force Villanova could not stop was Carl Jones. He helped Galloway and the Hawks by adding 15 points of his own. And it's not like 'Nova could focus all their attention on just these two players, because there are many other studs on the Hawks' roster.
Together, these two could not be stopped. They were way too talented for the Wildcats to defend. Throw C.J. Aiken and Ron Roberts into the mix, and there are four players that would give any team in the country a run for their money.
2. Basketball Game Turned into Dunk Contest
With ticket prices upwards of $200, SJU and Nova fans alike were hoping to see a great, cutthroat battle between these Augustinian and Jesuit universities.
However, they got much more than your classic Big 5 matchup. SJU finished the night with seven dunks. And just like the blocks, these weren't little, high school dunks. These consisted of alley-oops, one-handed slams and two-handed slams.
If C.J. Aiken slammed home anymore dunks, he would have broken the glass just like Darryl Dawkins, or like how "Chocolate Thunder" did to another classic Philadelphia venue—the Spectrum.
The best dunk of the night was the last one by the Hawks. Carl Jones lobbed a beautiful alley-oop to who other than C.J. Aiken. Aiken reached backed, snatched the ball out of midair and slammed it home with one hand, causing Hagan Arena to erupt.
As CBS sports announcer Steve Lappas said, "You could make a highlight reel of just this game alone!"
1. The Hawks Fans Supplied Endless Energy
As I said in my previous article on why SJU was going to win this game, the fans created a special and unique atmosphere. A majority of students ended finals before this game was played and they elected to stay the extra couple days to see the Hawks win the Holy War.
If Hagan Arena wasn't loud enough to begin with, throw in seven blocks and seven earth-shaking dunks, and you can bet not only the students but all SJU fans were going ballistic.
Many people criticize St. Joe's venue for only holding 4,200 people; well, it wouldn't have been as loud if the arena were any bigger.
The decision to play this game on Hawk Hill rather than at the Palestra made a world of difference, and even St. Joe's head coach Phil Martelli agreed saying, "I thank Villanova for taking on this challenge, it would have been difficult for anyone to beat us tonight here."
Even Villanova head coach Jay Wright respected the fans of SJU,
We all know there’s a disdain for Villanova in Philly and the last two environments have been classy. St. Joe’s played great tonight and the fans, there was nothing negative. I’m proud to be part of the Big 5. It makes you proud to be part of this.
So what does this win mean for SJU? Well, for now, it gives them a sense of accomplishment. Villanova has owned the series in recent years, and a 20-point victory only makes this Holy War win so much sweeter for Hawks fans alike.
The Hawk will never die!