Nov. 11, 2011
BOWLING GREEN, KY. - Langston Galloway scored 19 points and Carl Jones had 16 to lead Saint Joseph's (1-0) to a 72-61 win over Western Kentucky (0-1) in the season opener for both teams at E.A. Diddle Arena.
SJU had five players in double figures as Ronald Roberts scored 10 points and grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds. Freshman Chris Wilson added 10 points in his collegiate debut.
WKU's Derrick Gordon led all scorers with 25 points, going 16-for-18 from the foul line.
Saint Joseph's, which led for all but the first minute of the game, held a 54-42 lead with 7:30 to play in the second half. But Western Kentucky went on a 9-2 run and closed to 56-51. But Galloway gave the Hawks some breathing room with a three-point play and a three-pointer as SJU stretched its lead to 62-51 with 2:45 to play. Aiken followed with a dunk off a pass by Wilson to give the Hawks a 64-51 cushion.
The Hilltoppers cut it to 66-58 at 1:20 on a three by Gordon, but Jones and Wilson combined to hit 4-of-4 free throws in the final seconds to seal the win.
The Hawks were hot from the field from the outset, hitting 8-of-11 shots in the first 10 minutes. SJU went on a 14-0 run to open up its biggest lead of the game, 22-6, at the 10:45 mark, while limiting Western Kentucky to a 2-for-16 shooting effort.
Saint Joseph's went cold for a four-minute stretch of the half, allowing the Hilltoppers to close to within 31-24 at halftime.
The Hawks shot 49 percent in the game while WKU hit just 26.5 percent of its shots.
"I thought we did a nice job with our zone defense and we stayed with it when they came back in the second half. But it's great. We get out her with a win and get of out here with a lot of reasons to practice," said Hawk coach Phil Martelli.
The game marked the Hawk debut of sophomore Halil Kanacevic, who sat out last season after transferring from Hofstra. The 6-8 forward was whistled for two quick fouls in the beginning of both halves and played just eight minutes.
Western Kentucky played without three players - Teeng Akol, George Fant and T.J. Price - who were serving team suspensions.
Saint Joseph's will host the University of Scranton in an exhibition game on Monday night at Hagan Arena and then will resume regular-season action at the Charleston Classic. The Hawks open play versus Georgia Tech on November 17.