Without Kanacevic, SJU defeats American 74-55

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Chris Wilson drives to the hoop Wednesday against American (Photo: Anson Marsh)

Garrett Miley @GWMiley

Saint Joseph’s defeated American on Wednesday night in Hagan Arena behind fantastic three point shooting all evening long.

Carl Jones did indeed start against American Wednesday night, but so did both of his fellow backcourt mates Langston Galloway and Chris Wilson. Halil Kanacevic missed the game due to a back injury and is currently day-to-day. All three guards were ready to shoot the ball against American, who was extremely focused with keeping the Hawk forwards out of the paint.

Langston Galloway scored 5 quick points to start the game and eclipsed the 1,000 point mark for his career when he hit a 3-pointer with 17:53 remaining in the first half.

“It is definitely and honor to be in there amongst the Saint Joseph’s alums,” a very humble Langston Galloway said after the game.  “It’s definitely special to be a part of that group”

(1K-Point Club: To read more on Galloway’s achievement, check out Andrew Albert’s sidebar here)

The Hawks were noticeably not sharp in the early going as they fell behind American early, something that coach Phil Martelli attributed to the long holiday break the team had, as well as Kanacevic being out of the lineup.

“[Kanacevic] has the confidence,” Martelli said.  “And the rest of them play off of his confidence and boastfulness.  Not in a bad way.”

Isaiah Miles was the first man off the bench for coach Martelli on Wednesday night, showing Martelli’s confidence in the freshman forward. Instantly after entering, Miles hit a two point jumper to give the Hawks an 18-16 advantage over the Eagles.  Miles is still perfect from the floor on the year, 4-4.

Saint Joseph’s led American 32-28 at the half. Surprisingly, the Hawks only led by four at the half despite shooting 57% from the field (12-21) and 54% from three (7-13). The Hawks were led by 11 first half points from Galloway, who was 4-4 from the field (including 3-3 from behind the arc).

American was paced by 10 first half points from senior Stephen Lumpkins, who was having success with his post moves on big time shot blocker C.J. Aiken. Senior guard Daniel Munoz also played a solid half of basketball for American, scoring 8 points and also adding 4 assists and zero turnovers for the Eagles.

American led SJU 28-21 with 2:26 remaining in the first half, but the Hawks came roaring back to finish the half on an 11-0 run led by a big three pointer and a drive and dunk, both courtesy of Aiken.

Saint Joseph’s opened the second half building off of the momentum with which they closed the first half of play. Carl Jones hit two quick threes and a free throw to start the half and grew the SJU lead to 9. The three point shooting success continued all night for Saint Joseph’s as they shot 14-28 (50%) from behind the arc on the evening.

“They ran zone most of the game so that gave us some chances to get some open looks,” Wilson said.  “They were really standing on top of Ron and C.J. down low and were making an extra effort so we couldn’t throw it to them in the post so it opened things up for myself, Lang and Tay to hit some open threes.”

In the second half of play, American was forced by Saint Joseph’s to settle for three point jump shots, limiting the effectiveness of Lumpkins. Sophomore guard John Shoof and Munoz were the only Eagles to have any success behind the arc, while redshirt-sophomore guard Austin Carroll and senior forward Daniel Fisher were unable to provide anything for coach Jeff Jones’s team offensively off of the bench.

Stephen Lumpkins continued to do just what he has done all season for American, as the Eagles tried to capitalize on Kanacevic’s absence down low. Lumpkins scored 18 points for American while going 8-8 from the charity stripe, and also recorded 7 rebounds. Munoz finished the game with 10 points and 7 assists, really struggling to get any scoring opportunities in the second half.

Galloway had a team high 18 points on 6-9 shooting tonight, while his backcourt mates Jones and Wilson added 16 and 15, respectively.  Aiken scored 16 points tonight, a season high for the 6-foot-9 forward who shot 50% from the floor tonight, who also grabbed  5 rebounds and 3 blocks on the evening.

Both teams committed just eight turnovers and American out-rebounded SJU 29-28 in the game. Saint Joseph’s finished the evening shooting 54% from the field, while American struggled from the field and shot just 37% from the field.

Next up for Saint Joseph’s is 11th ranked Creighton this Saturday afternoon in Omaha, Nebraska.

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