Wednesday, March 20, 2013

St. John's tops St. Joe's at the buzzer

PHILADELPHIA - The Saint Joseph's men's basketball team suffered a heartbreaking 63-61 loss to St. John's at the buzzer to end the season in the 2013 NIT First Round at Hagan Arena.

After Ronald Roberts hit two free throws to tie it at 61-61 with 5.7 seconds remaining, St. John's Sir'Dominic Pointer raced down the court and hit a fadeaway jumper from the left side as time expired to give the Red Storm the win. St. John's (17-15) moves on to face the Norfolk State-Virginia winner in the NIT Second Round.

Trailing 60-56 with 46 seconds remaining, senior Carl Jones drove the lane for a layup to bring SJU to within two points. Langston Galloway then forced a St. John's turnover at :34 and attempted a three-pointer. Teammate Halil Kanacevic grabbed the rebound and attempted a tip-in twice, and then was fouled on his third shot. Kanacevic made one of two free throws at :16 to pull the Hawks to within 60-59.

After a quick SJU foul, St. John's Jamal Branch made one of two free throws at :14, to up the Red Storm lead to 61-59. The Hawks called timeout and got the ball into Roberts, who was fouled and would tie the game.

Saint Joseph's made 5-of-8 three pointers in the first half to own a 32-26 lead at halftime.

Early in the second half, Saint Joseph's led by as much as 12 points and held a 51-40 lead with 11:03 to play. The Hawks then went cold, making just 1-of-14 from the field over the next six minutes. A layup by Jones at 5:50 ended that streak and gave SJU a 56-51 lead.

St. John's would go on a 9-0 run, ending in a dunk by Chris Obekpa, to give the visitors a 60-56 edge with 2:03 remaining.

"I think that the numbers tell the story. We shot 30 percent in the second half and they shot 55 percent," said Saint Joseph's coach Phil Martelli. "I liked the quality of shots that we had. I'm not sure we were as confident. I think that we could've been more aggressive off the dribble. But saying that, I think their shot-blocking got into our heads a little bit and we didn't finish enough plays in and around the rim."

Jones scored a game-high 21 points in his final contest as a Hawk and finishes his career with 1,845 points, which ranks third on the SJU all-time list. Galloway scored 16 points and Kanacevic had a game-high 12 rebounds.

JaKarr Sampson led the Red Storm with 16 points, while Pointer finished with 15 and Phil Greene IV had 10.

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