Sunday, March 16, 2014

St. Joe's head to NCAA Tournament after topping VCU for A-10 title

Brooklyn, NY -- Ronald Roberts Jr. and Halil Kanacevic both posted  double-doubles  and Saint  Joseph's  captured  its first  Atlantic  10 Tournament title since 1997 with a 65-61 win over No. 23 VCU on Sunday.

Roberts  scored 15 points  with 11 rebounds and Kanacevic had 11 points and 14 rebounds.

Langston Galloway paced the Hawks (24-9) with 19 points, including a 3-pointer that broke a 54-54 tie with 2 1/2 minutes remaining and gave them the lead for good.

DeAndre  Bembry added 13 points and Saint Joe's assured itself a return to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2008, when it lost to Oklahoma in the first round. The Jesuit institution was given a 10-seed and squares off against UConn, Should Phil Martelli's boys advance, a possible matchup with Holy War rival Villanova looms -- provided the second-seeded Wildcats get past 15th-seed Milwaukee.

The  Hawks were seen  as a bubble team entering the A-10 tournament but likely had  already locked  up at least an  at-large bid before Sunday with wins over Dayton and St. Bonaventure.

Rob  Brandenburg had  18 points  and  Treveon Graham  scored 15  for the  Rams (26-8), who will make the NCAA Tournament despite the loss.

They  played without A-10 Sixth Man of the Year Melvin Johnson, who suffered a knee injury early in VCU's semifinal win over George Washington.

Saint  Joseph's shot  24-of-50 from  the field  against VCU's  vaunted "Havoc" defense and held the Rams to just 24-of-65 shooting.

Brandenburg  tied the  score at 35-35 with  a 3-pointer 4 1/2 minutes into the second  half and Graham's  three gave the Rams their first lead of the game at 43-40.

A tight battle ensued. VCU pushed its advantage to 48-42, but Kanacevic scored four straight after a Bembry jumper to tie it.

Bembry's  three-point play was part of an 11-2 Hawks run late in the game that gave them a 61-54 lead with under a minute left.

After  Graham nailed  a trey to make  it a one possession game with 22 seconds left,  Bembry then split a pair of free throws to push the Saint Joe's lead to four.

Galloway missed two free throws with seven seconds remaining, but Roberts came up with a block on Graham at the other end and the Hawks held on.

Earlier,  they jumped out  to an 11-4 lead on a Roberts dunk, but VCU answered with  seven straight to  tie the game with just under 11 1/2 minutes remaining in  the first  half. Galloway then buried back-to-back 3-pointers as part of a 10-2 spurt that Roberts capped with another dunk.

The  Rams cut  the deficit to 28-24  at the half after Juvonte Reddic's jumper with over a minute left.

Notes: VCU's reserves outscored the Saint Joe's bench 12-0, with Papa Ndao attempting the  only  shot for a  Hawks non-starter ...  The Hawks out-rebounded the Rams 40-38  ...  Saint Joe's  had  12  turnovers compared  to  VCU's  five ...  The Hawks shot 11-of-20 from the free throw line and the Rams went 8-of-15.
Post a Comment