March 5, 2011
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Langston Galloway tied his career-high with 27 points and hit a free throw with 4.1 seconds to play to lift Saint Joseph's (9-21; 4-12 A-10) to a 71-70 win over Charlotte (10-20; 2-14) in the regular-season finale at Halton Arena. The win gave the Hawks the final spot in the A-10 Tournament over Charlotte.
Saint Joseph's, the 12th seed, will travel to fifth-seeded George Washington on Tuesday for the A-10 Opening Round game. Tip-off is 7 p.m. and the game will be televised by CBS College Sports.
The Hawks shot a blistering 11-for-19 from 3-point range in the victory, marking the second time in three games that SJU made 11 3-pointers (also against St. Bonaventure). Galloway was 8-for-11 from the field and a career-best 6-for-7 from 3-point range while backcourt mate Carl Jones scored 19 points. Senior Idris Hilliard added 10 points.
With SJU leading, 70-67, Charlotte's Derrio Green connected on a baseline three pointer with 10.3 seconds to go to knot the game at 70-70. On SJU's possession, Galloway drove to the hoop and was fouled with 4.1 seconds remaining. He made the first to provide the winning point, and although missed the second, Charlotte could only get off a desperation shot from beyond halfcourt.
When the score was tied for the sixth time in the second half, 64-64, Galloway hit the shot of the game. He made a 3-pointer from near the Hawks' bench, was knocked to the ground, and made the ensuing free throw to give the Hawks a 68-64 lead with 1:20 remaining. Charlotte cut it to 69-67 on free throws by Chris Braswell but Jones built SJU's lead back up to 70-67 with a free throw at :32, thus setting the stage for the final seconds.
Both teams were playing to extend their season in a win or go home scenario. The squads traded leads and were tied twice. Charlotte held a 33-28 lead on a layup by Braswell with 2:37 to go, but SJU closed out the half with seven straight points, ending with a three-pointer by Galloway at the buzzer to give the Hawks a 35-33 halftime lead.
"That's what it was - a tournament type game. It was clearly elimination and go home and we told the players they had to understand that whatever was necessary, that's what we were going to do. I can tell you that my stomach felt like it was a playoff game," said Hawk coach Phil Martelli.
The second half appeared to be all Saint Joseph's as the Hawks led by as much as nine points early in the period. Charlotte pulled with one point on six occasions, but regained the lead only once, 62-60, at 4:25. SJU quickly tied it on a pair of free throws by Jones and maintained the lead the rest of the way.
"I thought that Langston played well off of our other guys. Our players found him. He got some shots in the air that were very good shots for him. And basically, when the ball goes in the basket he plays a better brand of basketball. He's a winning player. I'm not going to give him credit for this, but actually missing the free throw with four seconds left played to our advantage. They had to come get the ball as opposed to inbounding and running a play," said Martelli.
Saint Joseph's will be making its 29th consecutive appearance in the Atlantic 10 Tournament. It is the second straight year that the Hawks are the 12th seed.
For the complete bracket and tournament information, go to the Atlantic 10's website.