As Saint Joseph’s looks to avoid an 0-2 start in Atlantic 10 play this weekend, the Hawks will have to do so without a key contributor.
It was announced by the school that forward Halil Kanacevic will miss the “next few games” due to the passing of his maternal uncle. Kanacevic will travel with his parents to their native Montenegro for the funeral.
The junior, who began his college career at Hofstra, is averaging 7.1 points and 7.2 rebounds per game with the latter figure being second-best on the squad behind Ronald Roberts Jr.’s 8.2 rpg.
In regards to the starting lineup nothing will change from the Hawks’ 72-66 loss to No. 14 Butler earlier in the week, but Saint Joseph’s does need to account for what Kanacevic can provide off the bench. In the loss Kanacevic scored five points (0-of-7 FG) and grabbed seven rebounds.
Outside of Kanacevic’s 22 minutes of action Saint Joseph’s reserved played a total of seven minutes with forward Papa Ndao accounting for five of those minutes. With Kanacevic out the Hawks have to hope that forwards Roberts Jr. and C.J. Aiken both remain healthy and avoid foul trouble, because there aren’t many places for Phil Martelli to turn if either of those scenarios occur.
Saint Joseph’s (2-1 in games this season without Kanacevic) visits Duquesne on Saturday night and with the Dukes averaging more than 13 offensive rebounds per contest, Kanacevic’s absence could be an issue for a Saint Joseph’s team that has allowed opponents to rebound 35% of their missed shots on the season.
Following that contest is a game at VCU next Thursday.
Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.
Not only is Wyoming senior guard Josh Adams the lone returning starter from a team that won the Mountain West tournament last season, but he’s also one of college basketball’s best dunkers. And if anyone may have forgotten about his jumping ability, Adams put it on display Saturday during the Cowboys’ win over Montana State.
After splitting two Montana State players at the top of the key Adams attacked the basket, dunking with two hands over a late-arriving help-side defender. If you’re going to rotate over, have to do it quicker than that.
Video credit: Wyoming Athletics
Even with the coaching change from Fred Hoiberg to Steve Prohm, No. 4 Iowa State remains one of the nation’s best offensive teams. Given their skills on that end of the floor many teams find it tough to go score for score with the Cyclones, and that’s what happened to Illinois in Iowa State’s 84-73 win in the Emerald Coast Classic title game.
Georges Niang scored 23 points and grabbed eight rebounds, with Monté Morris adding 20, nine rebounds and six assists and Abdel Nader 18 points as the Cyclones moved to 5-0 on the season. The three-pointers weren’t falling in the second half, as Iowa State shot 0-f0r-12, but they shot 19-for-24 inside of the arc to pull away from a team that lost big man Mike Thorne Jr. late in the first half to a left knee injury.
Illinois’ loss of size in the paint opened things up offensively for Iowa State, and the Cyclones took advantage. But where this group grabbed control of the game was on the defensive end of the floor, and that will be the key for a team with Big 12 and national title aspirations.
Nader took on the responsibility of defending Illinois’ Malcolm Hill (20 points) in the second half and did a solid job of keeping the junior wing in check, with that serving as the spark to a 12-2 run that put the game away. There’s no denying that the Cyclones can put points on the board; most of the talent from last season is back and the productivity on that end of the floor hasn’t changed as a result. Niang’s one of the nation’s best forwards, and both Morris (who now ranks among the country’s best point guards) and Nader have taken significant strides in their respective games.
Iowa State will add Deonte Burton in December, giving them another option to call upon. Front court depth is a bit of a concern, as Iowa State can ill afford to lose a Niang or Jameel McKay, but there’s enough on the roster to compensate for that and force mismatches in other areas.
But the biggest question for this group is how effective they can become at stringing together stops. Illinois certainly had its moments in both halves Saturday night, but Iowa State also showed during the game’s decisive stretch that they can step up defensively. The key now is to do so consistently, and if that occurs the Cyclones can be a threat both within the Big 12 and nationally.