Saint Joseph's was edged by Rhode Island, 86-85, in overtime in the home finale at Hagan Arena. URI's Fatts Russell scored a career-high 41 points, and his team's final 19 of the game, while sending the game into overtime by hitting a three-pointer with 5.5 seconds to play.
Saint Joseph’s (13-17; 6-11 A-10) held a 75-69 lead with 1:12 to play in regulation, but Russell scored six straight to force the overtime. He also tallied all nine of URI’s points in the extra period.
Saint Joseph’s took an 82-81 lead at 2:23 of overtime on a three-pointer by Troy Holston, but Russell answered with his seventh three-pointer of the night to give the Rams the lead for good, 84-82. The Hawks pulled within 86-85 on a three-pointer by Jared Bynum with :02 left, and after Russell missed two free throws, Lamarr Kimble’s shot from just inside half court was off the mark.
The Hawks were without starters Clover and Brown in the overtime as both had fouled out; Clover with 5:51 to play, and Brown with :26 left in regulation.
Russell shot 12-for-24 from the field and 7-for-13 from three-point range on his career night. Jeff Dowtin added 23 points and Cyril Langevine scored 10 for Rhode Island (15-14; 8-9 A-10).
SJU’s biggest lead was 11, 51-40, in the second half, but URI scored 10 straight before Kimble hit a three and Clover had a three-point play to push the Hawks’ lead back to 57-50. Rhode Island cut the deficit to 66-65 at 3:58 but SJU would hit 9-of-9 free throws over a two-minute span to give it the 75-69 lead at 1:12.
Kimble connected on a pair of free throws at :19 to give SJU a 77-74 lead before Russell tied the game with his three-pointer.
"Everybody knows how I feel about a game being numeric. Seven turnovers against a team forcing 14. Six offensive rebounds, two second-chance points. They have a leader in offensive rebounds in the country and we couldn't guard the guards,” said Hawk coach Phil Martelli. “We were too fast on offense in overtime. We knew we could get a play off of the ball screen. We were too fast, collectively."
In the first half, Saint Joseph’s trailed early, 22-14, but went on an 11-0 run to take its first lead of the game, 25-22. The Hawks maintained the lead through the rest of the half, and took their biggest advantage, 37-31, at 1:54, and led, 38-35, at halftime.
Saint Joseph’s made 11-of-36 three-pointers in the game and Rhode Island, which ranked last in the NCAA in three-point shooting, connected on 11-of-26.
Saint Joseph’s closes out the regular season on the road, visiting regular-season champion VCU on March 8 in the A-10 ESPN Friday Night Showcase. The Hawks will then head to the Atlantic 10 Tournament at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, which runs from March 13-17.