PHILADELPHIA, PA. 2/8/2014 – The Saint Joseph’s Hawks were looking for a bounce-back win after the loss to Saint Louis earlier in the week. The needed win would have to come against the Rams of VCU who came into the game in second place in the Atlantic 10, a team known for their defense that wants to create havoc. Saint Joseph’s withstood the intensity and held off a late rally by the Rams to earn a 69 – 63 victory at the Hagan Arena. It was an important win the team needed against a name opponent.
“It was definitely bug for us,” said Saint Joseph’s senior guard Langston Galloway who scored a game-high 24 points. “We needed momentum going into next Saturday at La Salle. We got the win and all momentum is on our side now.”
In a tightly contested battle that had four ties and eleven lead changes, the Hawks broke out to a 63 – 52 lead with 5:40 to play. It was the largest lead of the game for Saint Joe’s. The Rams scored 10 of the next 12 points in the game to cut the deficit to 65 – 62 with 1:15 remaining on a layup by forward Juvonte Reddic who scored a team-high 17 points. On the next possession VCU guard Treveon Graham rebounded a Saint Joseph’s missed layup setting up a key play in the outcome.
Graham took the ball down the floor heading to the basket. In his way stood Saint Joseph’s senior forward Halil Kanacevic who was playing with 4 fouls. As Graham put up his layup attempt, there was contact. The call was an offensive foul giving the ball back to the Hawks.
“I thought charge,” said Kanacevic. “I went for it. If the call went against me it was my fifth foul, but I felt I was there. The only thing I was worried about was my foot on the line behind me. I thought it was a good call.”
VCU Coach Shaka Smart did not agree with the call. Saint Joe’s closed out the game making four free throws to get the win.
The Hawks committed 12 turnovers that led to 12 points for the Rams. Saint Joseph’s scored 16 points off 10 VCU turnovers.
The Hawks got balance on offense scoring 32 points in the paint, 37 outside.
“We wanted to go to the rim,” Saint Joseph’s Coach Phil Martelli. “We have to play a balanced game. We can’t rely on jumpers. Layups are a big deal.”
“That’s what we hang our hats on,” Kanacevic said about the offensive balance. “Inside out, that ‘s what we have to do to win games. When we do that, we win.”
Freshman forward DeAndre Bembry contributed 18 points while pulling down 6 rebounds and 3 assists. Kanacevic scored 7 points and was credited with a game-high in rebounds with 10 and assists with 7. For VCU (19-5, 7 – 2) Graham scored 13 points and 8 rebounds. Reddic grabbed 8 rebounds.
Saint Joseph’s improves to 16 – 7 on the season and improve to 6 – 3 in the Atlantic 10. The Hawks next outing will be on February 15 when the team meets city rival La Salle at the Gola Arena.
Written By: Glenn Papazian