March 9, 2010
KINGSTON, R.I. - The Saint Joseph's men's basketball team fought valiantly, closing to within one midway through the second half, but it wasn't enough as Rhode Island pulled away, eventually winning the Atlantic 10 Tournament Opening Round game, 87-76, at the Ryan Center on Tuesday night.
With the win, the fifth-seeded Rams will face the fourth-seeded Saint Louis Billikens on Friday afternoon at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J., in the quarterfinals.
The Hawks were led by senior guard Darrin Govens, who scored a career-high 27 points in the loss. Senior Garrett Williamson had eight points, 10 rebounds, and seven assists. Freshman Carl Jones added 15 points in 23 minutes.
Saint Joseph's (11-20) took a brief 10-5 lead just under five minutes into the game on a three-pointer by Justin Crosgile before URI went on an 11-2 run to go ahead, 16-12, with 10:56 to go in the half.
Rhode Island (22-8) led by five, 21-16, on a Lamonte Ulmer dunk with 8:42 remaining before Jones scored five straight points over the next 32 seconds on a jumper and three free throws to tie the game at 21.
Unfortunately for the Crimson and Gray, a 10-4 spurt by the Rams would put them back on top, 31-25, with 3:27 to go in the opening half. URI pushed the lead to its first-half zenith when a Will Martell basket gave the Rams an eight-point edge with 70 seconds left, but a layup by junior Idris Hilliard and a three-ball by Govens bookended another Martell bucket and sent the Hawks into the locker room trailing by five at 37-32.
Hilliard led the Hawks with eight points in the first half, finishing with 10 for the game.
The Hawks scored the first four points of the second half, getting to within one, 37-36, on a pair of free throws by Williamson just 1:02 into the period. An 11-4 spurt over the next three minutes, however, game URI a 48-40 cushion with 16:04 to go.
A three-pointer by Jones with 12:28 to go would get the Hawks back within a pair at 52-50. After a three by URI's Keith Cothran and a free throw by Williamson, Govens hit another outside jumper to get SJU within a single point, 55-54, with 11:10 to go. The teams traded baskets on the next two possessions, and a Govens layup kept the Hawks within a basket at 57-56 with 9:58 remaining.
It was at that point that the Rams began to pull away. They scored the next five points, and pushed the margin to seven, 65-58, on a three-pointer by Akeem Richmond.
Govens converted a three-point play with 4:13 to go to cut the deficit to four at 68-64, but Orion Outerbridge knocked down a jumper on the next possession to restore the lead to six, and the Hawks would get no closer.
The senior guard would not allow the Hawks to go down without a fight, however, as Govens drilled a three-pointer to close the gap to 77-70 with 1:24 to go, but the Rams converted 8-of-14 free throws over the final 1:07 to salt away the win.
"We wanted it to be a low-scoring, 70-point game, but in the second half we didn't establish anything defensively to get stops," said head coach Phil Martelli.
"I'm disappointed in the result, but happy for the players that they got to experience postseason play," he continued. "We maximized our effort, but still leave not good enough."