Feb. 4, 2012
(By Nikki Philpot)
PHILADELPHIA - Led by an 18-point, 15-rebound performance from sophomore forward Halil Kanacevic, the Saint Joseph's men's basketball team defeated La Salle, 70-66, in a Big 5 and Atlantic 10 matchup on Saturday afternoon before a sellout crowd at The Palestra. Kanacevic shot 7-of-10 from the floor and 4-of-6 from the foul line, shooting 68.7 percent on the day while tying game-highs in assists (4), blocks (2) and steals (2).
Down 14-13, Saint Joseph's (15-9; 5-4 A-10; 2-1 Big 5) scored six uncontested points that began with a dunk by Kanacevic. A jumper and foul shot by sophomore forward Daryus Quarles extended the Hawk lead by four points and a foul shot by Kanacevic brought the score to 19-14 at 13:00.
The Hawks then went on a 12-3 run on an alley-oop from freshman guard Ronald Roberts, Jr., with 8:13 remaining in the half.
La Salle (17-7; 6-3 A-10; 1-2 Big 5) would close the lead to six points on a pair of free throws by Earl Pettis at 2:24. However, sophomore forward C.J. Aiken would make a jumper from the corner to extend the lead to ten as the Hawks led 42-33 at the break.
The Hawks would not trail again, coming out of the locker room firing to extend the lead to as many as 11 in the second half. After a Roberts's free throw to increase the lead to 52-42, the Explorers responded with a Ramon Galloway three-pointer and a jumper by Sam Mills to bring the score within four. Roberts would go on to score the team's next four points in two free throws and a jumper to make the lead 56-48 with 11:27 remaining.
Back-to-back three-pointers by La Salle's Earl Pettis brought the Explorers within one, but four consecutive foul shots by Kanacevic and Wilson along with a dunk by Kanacevic would give the Hawks a 67-60 lead with 1:35 remaining. La Salle would chip away but the Hawks would hold on to seal the victory, 70-66.
Kanacevic, Wilson, Aiken, and Galloway combined to go 7-8 from the charity stripe in the final four minutes to seal the victory.
The Hawks dominated from the floor, shooting 24-for-54 (44.4 percent) compared to the Explorers' 22-for-66 (33.3 percent) shooting. La Salle held the edge on three point shooting (44 percent) and free throws (78.6 percent) but the Hawks got to the line 15 more times than the Explorers. Saint Joseph's dominated defensively, outrebounding La Salle by a 43-35 margin.
Junior guard Carl Jones had 13 points while Quarles and Roberts added nine points apiece.
Aiken collected two blocks, which ties Tony Costner for third place on SJU's all-time list for career blocks (212). He also chipped in eight points and pulled down seven rebounds for the Hawks.
Wilson grabbed a career-high seven rebounds in the win.
La Salle, which shot 22-of-66 from the floor (33.3 percent), had a team-high 17 points from Earl Pettis.
Saint Joseph's returns to action on Wednesday, February 8 when the Hawks host Saint Louis at 8:30 p.m. at Hagan Arena. The game will air on The Comcast Network and SportsRadio 610 WIP.