SJU can’t hold on against VCU

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Langston Galloway scored 22 points against VCU but it wasn't enough to take down the Rams (Photo: Josh Verlin)

Langston Galloway scored 22 points against VCU but it wasn’t enough to take down the Rams (Photo: Josh Verlin)

Garrett Miley @GWMiley

Saint Joseph’s (9-6, 1-2) was unable to close out a road game against VCU (15-3, 3-0) on Thursday evening, losing 92-86 in overtime. The Ram’s fervent “havoc” style of play proved to be too much for the Hawks down the stretch in the second half and overtime.

From the opening tip-off, VCU’s havoc was in full effect against Saint Joseph’s. The Rams jumped out to a 25-14 lead 11:07 the first half and it appeared that the Hawks could not keep up with the pace of coach Shaka Smart’s team. The Hawks battled back and cut the lead to just six on a Carl Jones jumper and entered halftime with VCU leading 38-32.

Coming out of the locker room to start the second half, the Rams came out with great intensity once again. Within the first five minutes of the second half VCU had once again built up their double digit lead and the Hawks trailed 51-41 with just under 15 minutes left in regulation.

The Hawks went on a 9-0 run sparked by five points off the bench by Daryus Quarles and pulled within one point of the Rams. Langston Galloway tied the game up at 61 for the first time when he knocked down a three pointer with 8:19 to go in regulation. Galloway then tied the game up at 66 with another three pointer, and then the Hawks took their first lead with 4:45 remaining when Galloway knocked down a third three pointer to put the Hawks up 69-66.

Both teams traded blows down the stretch and with 28 seconds remaining Saint Joseph’s held a four point advantage after C.J. Aiken sunk two free throws. Then the wheels fell off for the Hawks.

Chris Wilson rebounded a VCU miss with only 14 seconds remaining and it appeared that the Hawks would hold on for their second Atlantic 10 victory of the season. However, forward Ronald Roberts Jr. then fell into Wilson and the sophomore guard was called for traveling.

On the subsequent VCU possession, sharpshooter Troy Daniels, who was 0-8 from three to that point, knocked down a three pointer to pull the Rams back within one. Poor free throw shooting in the final seconds left the Hawks with just a two point lead (80-78) and VCU with the basketball. VCU’s Darius Theus, who scored a season 22 points against the Hawks, blew by the Hawk defense and scored an easy layup to tie the game at 80 and send the game to overtime.

VCU dominated the extra session of play and it appeared that the Hawks ran out of gas and could not compete with the Ram’s momentum from the end of regulation. Theus knocked down two free throws at the end of overtime to ice the game for the Rams as they outran the Hawks in overtime, 92-86.

Saint Joseph’s Carl Jones, who finished with 21 points on 9-16 shooting, was hobbled down the stretch of the second half and all of overtime with cramps. Jones’ lack of explosiveness in the game’s final minutes was greatly missed by the Hawks, but was not the reason for the loss.

Poor free throw shooting and the inability to hold second half leads has haunted the Hawks over the past two seasons, and on the road at VCU was the same story. With a four point lead in the final seconds, Saint Joseph’s once again let victory out of their grasp with their inability to close and hit important free throws.

Saint Joseph’s shot just 60 percent from the foul line in the game and Jones is shooting a career low 59 percent from the line, and it hurt the Hawks on Thursday night against VCU.

Langston Galloway finished with 22 points, including five three pointers and played a game high 44 minutes in the loss.

VCU Challenge Basketball

Graham was fantastic against Saint Joseph’s and proved why he is one of the best players in the Atlantic 10. (Associated Press)

A bright spot for the Hawks, once again, was the play of Daryus Quarles off of the bench. The junior guard/forward was a perfect 4-4 from the field and finished with 9 points and for the second straight game provided Saint Joseph’s with an offensive spark from the bench.

Treveon Graham, an Atlantic 10 MVP candidate, was fantastic against the Hawks. He scored a game high 25 points, including four timely three pointers, and also corralled seven rebounds.

VCU’s Juvonte Reddic pulled down an impressive 17 rebounds against Saint Joseph’s and added 12 points on his way to his fourth double-double of the season.

Next up for Saint Joseph’s are the Penn Quakers this Saturday at The Palestra. Tip-off is set for 5 p.m.

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