They shot 36 percent, were out-rebounded by nine and outscored in the paint by 20, but crunch-time defense and timely three-point shooting allowed the Saint Joseph’s Hawks to still manage an impressive 59-49 win over Xavier on Saturday at Hagan Arena.
The Hawks needed this type of victory after Wednesday’s sluggish loss to St. Bonaventure dropped them to 1-3 in the Atlantic 10. A Xavier win would have put it atop the A-10, but instead St. Joe’s picked up its first win over the Musketeers since March 2008.
Down by two with 3:52 to play, St. Joe's scored the game's final 12 points. Carl Jones hit a three to put the Hawks ahead and Langston Galloway hit two clutch triples of his own to turn a tight game into one the Hawks controlled over the final two minutes.
No team had led by more than four points for over 12 minutes before the Hawks’ three-point barrage. And a nearly nine-minute, 15-possession scoring drought between the first and second half in which St. Joe’s missed 10 shots and had five turnovers could have cost the Hawks the game.
But instead, St. Joe’s improves to 11-7 and 2-3 in the A-10, while Xavier falls to 11-8 and 4-2 in the conference.
Inside the box score
- Galloway, Jones and Halil Kanacevic each had 15 points to pace the Hawks. Galloway was 5 for 10 from three. Kanacevic also had eight rebounds, six assists and four blocks.
- C.J. Aiken had four steals and three blocks.
- Xavier was 1 for 13 from three and got to the foul line just four times in the second half.
- The teams combined for just two fast-break points. That number could have been doubled at 3:13 in the first half, but Xavier's Landen Amos missed a breakaway dunk, provoking the Hawks' student section to chant "You let the whole team down" for a good 10-12 seconds.
Prior to Saturday, St. Joe’s had lost four straight to Xavier by an average of 21 points and had been held to just 53.8 points per game in the process. The Hawks still trail the overall series, 17-12.
Inducted into the Big 5 Hall of Fame on Friday, St. Joe’s great Marvin O’Connor was honored prior to tip-off. O’Connor was the Big 5 player of the year in 2001, when he set a school record for points in a season (706) and led the city with 22.1 points per game. O’Connor is third in Hawks history in threes made, with 231, and 12th all time in scoring, with 1,678 points.
Hawks for Margo
In addition to St. Joe’s coaches wearing suits and sneakers for Coaches vs. Cancer weekend, Hawks players helped raise awareness and money for cancer research by re-lacing their sneakers with teal shoelaces. It was part of a “Hawks for Margo” initiative to support Margo Mallory Ambler, the sister of Hawks soccer player Taylor Mallory. St. Joe’s also wore teal “Hawks for Margo” t-shirts in warmups.
Saint Joseph’s heads to Fordham for a 7 p.m. game on Wednesday. The Rams (6-14, 2-3 A-10) beat Rhode Island on Saturday to break a three-game losing streak.
Xavier hosts Dayton on Wednesday at 9 p.m.