Garrett Miley @GWMiley
Sir’Dominic Pointer’s shot at the buzzer ended Saint Joseph’s disappointing season, as St. John’s defeated the Hawks in Hagan Arena to advance in the NIT. Only seconds before, Ronald Roberts Jr. tied the game at 61 for the Hawks by sinking two free throws.
“At free throw line, I told my big man Chris [Obepka] if he makes the shot just give me the ball, I’ll make a play,” Pointer said. “He made the shot, I just went down. They stopped me from driving to make a layup, so I hit a stepback and hit a good shot.”
Pointer was St. John’s best player all evening, finishing 6-7 from the field and a perfect 3-3 from behind the arc on his way to 15 points, but none of them bigger than the final two.
“Dom had a heck of a game,” St. John’s coach Steve Lavin said. “We talked about it before. He’s the WD40 player. He helps in so many ways. I’ve called him the Costco, One-stop shopping.”
Saint Joseph’s looked like the better team at the opening tip as they jumped out to a quick 14-6 lead after Carl Jones and backcourt mate Langston Galloway knocked down back-to-back threes. Later in the haf, Jones sunk another three before hitting a two point field goal to extend the Hawks’ lead to nine, 29-20. Saint Joseph’s took a 32-26 advantage into the locker room at halftime.
The Hawks came out playing well for the first nine minutes of the second half and took and 11 point lead over St. John’s when Galloway knocked down his fourth three of the evening. Shortly after, however, things began to unravel for SJU.
“We were trying not to lose on some possessions later in the game instead of trying to win and playing free and easy,” Hawks coach Phil Martelli said. “I had put that on the board at halftime. Be a little more fierce. The way we were guarding them wouldn’t lead you to be fierce.”
The Red Storm went on a 16-5 run after Galloway’s three and took the lead on a layup by Amir Garrett with a feed from Pointer to make the score 57-56 with 3:17 remaining in the game. The Hawks offense scored just seven points in the final 7:34 of the game, but down 61-59 with 10 seconds remaining they still had a chance to win. Roberts drew a foul underneath the basket and made both free throws, but lost as Pointer took the ball the length of the court and hit an impossible fadeaway in the corner as time expired to win the game for St. John’s.
“I think that there was some decision making that was a little off,” Martelli said. “We knew we couldn’t get to the rim here…Again, we are walking out of here with a loss having held a team to 63 points. It’s college basketball you have to score the ball.”
In his final game as a Hawk, Jones finished with 21 points on 9-18 shooting in the loss to the Red Storm. The Hawks finished the season 18-14 overall, and Carl Jones’ career on Hawk Hill ends with no NCAA tournament appearances.
“I enjoyed it all,” Jones said of his career at Saint Joseph’s. ”The ups and downs, I enjoyed it all. It was a fun experience I just wish we could’ve made it to the tournament. That’s the main thing.”
Jones officially finishes with 1,845 career points, good for third in school history behind only Bernard Blount and Jameer Nelson.
“He had a good career here,” Galloway said of Jones. “What did he finish, third leading scorer here? That’s a good career here. I hope all the best for him and hopefully he moves on and keeps playing ball.”