March 9, 2012
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. - Saint Joseph's fell short to St. Bonaventure 71-68, in the quarterfinals of the 2012 Atlantic 10 Championship at Boardwalk Hall, in a game that saw 24 lead changes and nine ties. St. Bonaventure (18-11), the fourth seed, will advance to play Massachusetts in the semifinals.
The Hawks, now 20-13, will await any possible announcement of postseason play on Sunday evening.
Andrew Nicholson, the A-10's Player of the Year, hit one free throw with 1:32 remaining to break a 68-68 tie. After each team missed on its next offensive possession, the Hawks had the ball with 36 seconds remaining. But SJU sophomore Langston Galloway was called for a charge on his drive to the basket.
The Hawks fouled Charlon Koof and he made 1-of-2 free throws with :17 to play. After a rebound and timeout, the Hawks' Carl Jones drove the baseline and saw his shot fall short. Matthew Wright made one foul shot with :01 to go to provide the final margin.
Jones led SJU with 24 points, making 4-of-8 threes, and scoring 19 points in the second half. Galloway and Daryus Quarles had 12 points each for the Hawks.
The teams exchanged leads and ties throughout the first half with the largest being a five-point margin for the Hawks, 16-11, on an alley oop dunk by Roberts with the pass from Kanacevic. Galloway's first three of the game gave SJU a 19-17 lead and a jumper from Roberts pushed the Hawks' margin to 21-19.
Daryus Quarles led the Hawks in scoring in the first half with 10 points as his three-pointer and a Roberts free throw gave the Hawks a 25-23 edge. After another tie, Quarles' second three-pointer put SJU back up, 28-25. A basket by Jones gave the Hawks a 30-27 lead but St. Bonaventure scored the final six points of the half to maintain a 33-30 halftime lead.
The Bonnies held a commanding 21-10 edge on the boards and shot 51.9 percent from the field in the first 20 minutes.
"There was a loose ball recovery, there was a flurry in the first half where we had a lead and then there were some loose balls, a ball bounced twice on the top of the backboard, they recovered it, we didn't. We were playing in the second half and we did a great job defensively, broke the ball loose and we didn't recover it. So to me, loose ball recovery, really, a one possession game," said Hawk coach Phil Martelli. "That will be what eats away at us as we go home tonight and regroup again tomorrow." Jones came out firing for the Hawks, scoring their first five points of the second half. St. Bonaventure took its biggest lead of the game, 49-43, with just under 12 minutes to go, but Jones responded with six more points to tie it at 49-49.
Three straight points by Aiken gave SJU a 52-21 lead and the Bonnies regained it with four in a row. But a three by Galloway and dunk by Roberts put the Hawks ahead 57-56 with under eight minutes to play.
From there, the game would be tied four more times and Saint Joseph's would not hold a lead of more than one point.
Nicholson finished with 25 points and 10 rebounds for the Bonnies, who shot 54 percent in the game.