March 3, 2010
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Saint Joseph's men's basketball team ended its five-game losing skid on Wednesday night, earning a key 80-71 victory over the George Washington Colonials at the Charles E. Smith Center in Washington, D.C. The Hawks hit all six of their free throws in the final minute to ice the win.
The Hawks earned their second road win of the season, and their first outside of Philadelphia. SJU shot better than 50% for just the second time this year (December 29 vs. Siena) and outrebounded the opposition for the third time.
Saint Joseph's (10-19, 4-11 Atlantic 10) jumped out early and led by as many as five points through the first half. George Washington (16-12, 6-9 Atlantic 10) took its first lead, 34-33, with 1:21 remaining on three-pointer by Travis King. The teams traded leads over the final minute until GW's Hermann Opoku scored on a short jumper at the buzzer to give the Colonials a 38-37 halftime advantage.
The Hawks trailed at the break despite shooting 64.0% from the field, its best first-half performance of the season. Junior forward Idris Hilliard converted all six of his field goal attempts for 12 points in the stanza.
SJU opened the second half on an 11-2 run and held the Colonials without a field goal for five minutes to take a 48-40 lead. George Washington clawed back to within one, 52-51, over the next 2:57, but a pair of three-pointers by Darrin Govens extended the Hawk advantage to seven at 58-51.
A Govens jumper with 7:11 to go gave SJU a 67-57 lead, its largest of the game. A brief 6-1 spurt brought GW back within five at 68-63 with 5:05 remaining. Todd O'Brien put the Hawks back up by eight, 74-66, with a tip-in with 2:47 to go before a pair of free throws by Aaron Ware and a dunk by Tony Taylor cut the GW deficit in half, 74-70, with 88 seconds remaining.
However, the Hawks would convert all six of their free throw attempts, including four by Govens, to keep the Colonials at bay and secure the victory.
Govens led all scorers with 19 points while Hilliard (17), Garrett Williamson (11), and Justin Crosgile (10) were also in double figures. Williamson added eight assists, three steals, and seven rebounds while O'Brien had a game-high nine boards.
The Hawks enjoyed a 32-27 advantage on the glass.
"All across the board we got contributions," head coach Phil Martelli said. "Everyone gave us something. Justin and Carl stepped up and played a little older."
Martelli did not neglect the contributions of his seniors, however.
"That was big," Martelli said of Govens' back-to-back three-pointers. "There were broken plays and he took advantage of them. I'm happy for him and Garrett, that they could lead this team on the road."
Saint Joseph's returns home for its season finale, a crucial 4 p.m. tilt with city rival La Salle on Saturday at Hagan Arena. A win by the Hawks will give them one of the final spots in next week's Atlantic 10 Tournament, which will send them to a campus site on Tuesday for a first-round game. Saturday's game with La Salle will be televised locally on Comcast SportsNet.