Sunday, December 11, 2011

St. Joseph's upsets ranked Creighton club

PHILADELPHIA - Carl Jones scored 29 points, with 20 in the second half, to lead four Hawks in double figures as Saint Joseph's upset #19/17 Creighton, 80-71, in front of a sold-out crowd at Hagan Arena.

Ronald Roberts had 12 points, six rebounds and three blocks while Langston Galloway had 12 points and C.J. Aiken added 11 points. Halil Kanacevic grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds as the Hawks outrebounded the Bluejays, 40-28.

Jones shot 6-for-10 in the second half and got to the foul line 11 times in the contest, making 10 free throws.

It was Saint Joseph's first win over a Top 25 team since March 14, 2008, when the Hawks defeated 12th-ranked Xavier in the Atlantic 10 Semifinals. It was SJU's first win over a ranked team on campus since that same season, when the Hawks beat #8 Xavier, 71-66, on March 6, 2008 in the final game at Alumni Memorial Fieldhouse.

"It was a great atmosphere and I think because we were the home team, there was a little more juice. I have to applaud our players for the way they prepared. As soon as I saw them this morning at 10:30, I looked in their eyes - and you can tell what's in a person's heart by looking in their eyes. They were ready for a wonderful opponent," said Hawk coach Phil Martelli.

The Hawks held a 35-30 lead at halftime, but both teams struggled to score in the first six minutes of the second half. Creighton tied it 39-39 at 13:36 on a three-pointer by Jahnenns Manigat, but the Hawks scored the next five, including a three-point play by Jones. A three-pointer by Chris Wilson started a 7-0 run for Saint Joseph's as it built the lead back up to 51-41 with 10:42 to play.

A dunk by Aiken gave the Hawks their biggest lead of the game, 67-55 at 1:49, but Creighton inched back with three-pointers by Doug McDermott and Josh Jones, to close to within 69-63 at 1:01. A three-point play by Carl Jones gave the Hawks a 72-63 cushion and despite a basket by Grant Gibbs and another three from McDermott, the visitors could get no closer than 74-68 with 28 seconds to play.

In the first half, Saint Joseph's trailed by as many as eight points, but the Hawks used a 10-2 run to tie the score at 17-17. Roberts scored seven points in a five-minute span, including a highlight-reel dunk at 2:34 that gave the Hawks a 34-26 lead and brought the crowd to its feet.

"These high-flying plays are almost worth more than two points. That one was ridiculous. Measure how high he was. Where are you at that point - 11 feet in the air?" He threw the ball down into the basket," said Martelli of Roberts' dunk.

McDermott, the nation's fourth leading scorer, scored 26 points for Creighton while Antoine Young added 15.

Saint Joseph's welcomed back former University president Timothy R. Lannon, S.J., who is now the president of Creighton. SJU inducted him into its Athletics Hall of Fame in a special halftime ceremony.

The Hawks take a break for final exams and return to action next Saturday evening, December 17, when they host Big 5 rival Villanova for the first time on campus.

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