Feb. 15, 2012
KINGSTON, R.I. - Carl Jones led all scorers with 28 points to pace the Saint Joseph's men's basketball team to a crucial 80-69 win over Rhode Island at the Ryan Center on Wednesday night. Sophomores C.J. Aiken and Langston Galloway reached double figures as well, scoring 18 and 16 points, respectively.
Saint Joseph's (17-10 overall, 7-5 Atlantic 10) entered the locker room at halftime in a two-point hole, but the hawks came out firing and held a 14-point lead at 57-43 with just under 12 minutes left in the game.
The Hawks weathered the storm as Rhode Island (5-22 overall, 2-10 Atlantic 10) whittled the SJU advantage to 62-60 with 4:34 to play; Saint Joseph's then iced the game with a 12-0 run that restored the margin to 14 with 2:11 left on the clock.
Jones was 9-of-13 from the floor in the game, including 3-of-7 from outside, as SJU shot 55.7% from the floor and 40% from the perimeter in the game. The Hawks were also buoyed by a perfect 14-of-14 team effort from the free throw line.
SJU seemed to be in control of the game early, but URI stormed back from an eight-point deficit to carry a lead into the break.
Jones was the go-to option from the start, scoring the first points of the game, and after the Rams took a 6-4 lead, it was his three-pointer that capped a 10-2 Hawk run and gave SJU a 14-8 lead with 14:08 to go.
With Rhode Island within three at 23-20, Aiken converted a dunk before another Jones three gave the Hawks their largest lead of the game, 28-20, with 6:10 left in the opening stanza.
Orion Outerbridge then hit back-to-back three-pointers as the momentum shifted towards the home team. The Rams enjoyed an 18-8 spurt to close the half with a 38-36 lead, scoring eight of the final 10 points of the period.
Just as he did in the first half, Jones got the scoring started in the second, scoring the first four points of the frame to restore the Hawk advantage, 40-38, with 18:32 to play. After the teams traded baskets, Outerbridge converted a free throw after a made jumper to tie the game at 43 with 17:18 to play.
The Hawks then held the Rams scoreless for nearly six minutes, using a 14-0 run to take their largest lead of the night. Halil Kanacevic scored four of his six points on the night on consecutive possessions to give the Hawks a 47-43 lead before Jones tallied five points in 21 seconds to push the margin to 52-43 with 14:12 to go.
A Ronald Roberts, Jr. dunk and a Galloway three pushed the score to 57-43 before a T.J. Buchanan layup ended the run with 11:39 to go in the second half. That keyed a 7-0 URI spurt that cut the lead in half before Galloway canned another long-range jumper to restore the double-digit advantage at 60-50 with 10:45 remaining.
Rhode Island then scored the next seven points, holding the Hawks scoreless for nearly three minutes. Aiken ended the run with an alley-oop from Jones, but Outerbride answered to keep the Rams within three with 5:33 to play.
After a Hawk turnover, Nikola Malesevic hit one of two free throws to get URI back within a bucket at 62-60 with 4:34 showing on the clock, but Galloway's third three-pointer of the half and an old-fashioned three-point play by Aiken put the Rams in the rear view for good with 3:40 to go in the game.
Kanacevic would cap what eventually turned into a 12-0 run with a pair of free throws to give the Hawks a 74-60 lead with 2:11 left.
Four free throws by Jones and a dunk by Aiken helped salt away the victory for the Hawks.
In addition to his 28-point effort, Jones added six assists without a turnover. Kanacevic tallied nine rebounds and seven assists to lead all players in both categories.
Outerbridge led the Rams with 19 points, while Malesevic added 12. Jonathan Holton had 11 points and nine rebounds, while the Hawks held leading scorer Billy Baron to just five points on 2-of-11 shooting.
The Hawks will next head to the nation's capital for a Saturday afternoon tilt at George Washington. Tip-off is set for 4:00 p.m.; the game will air on Comcast SportsNet and SportsRadio 610 WIP.