The Saint Joseph's men's basketball team will take on seventh-seeded Connecticut in the NCAA Second Round on Thursday night from the First Niagara Center at 6:55 p.m. The telecast is on TBS with Verne Lundquist and Bill Raftery calling the action.
The winner will face the winner of No. 2 Villanova vs. No. 15 Milwaukee on Saturday.
The game will be broadcast on CBS Sports Radio 610 AM (WIP) with Matt Martucci and Joe Lunardi calling the action. There will be no audio streaming on SJUHawks.com. The game will also be heard nationally on Westwood One with the broadcast team of Gary Cohen and Kevin Grevey. Listen on Westwood One
POST-GAME PRESS CONFERENCE
• Saint Joseph’s captured its third Atlantic 10 Championship and first since 1997 with the win over VCU in the conference final. Halil Kanacevic was named the MVP of the championship and was joined on the All-Tournament team by fellow tri-captains Langston Galloway and Ronald Roberts, Jr.
• This is Saint Joseph’s first appearance in the NCAA Tournament since 2008 when the 11th-seeded Hawks lost to sixth-seeded Oklahoma. The Hawks are seeking their first NCAA Tournament win since a victory over Wake Forest in the 2004 Regional Semifinal.
• SJU has gone 20-5 since a loss to #14 Villanova on Dec. 7 and has won nine of the last 11 games, including three in a row in the A-10 Tournament.
• The Hawks’ 24 wins are the most since the 2004-05 team went 24-12. Saint Joseph’s 11-5 A-10 record is the best since that same season (14-2).
• This is the first NCAA Tournament appearance for every member of the Hawks’ team.
• Saint Joseph’s received votes in both polls this week.
LAST TIME OUT: Langston Galloway hit a three-pointer at 2:28 to break a tie and Saint Joseph's never trailed again en route to a 65-61 win over VCU to claim the 2014 Atlantic 10 Championship at the Barclays Center and clinch the league’s automatich berth to the NCAA Tournament. Galloway led all players with a game-high 19 points, while Ronald Roberts, Jr. finished with a 15-point, 11-rebound double-double. Halil Kanacevic grabbed a game-high 14 rebounds to go with 11 points, while DeAndre’ Bembry finished with eight assists and 13 points. Kanacevic was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player, while Galloway and Roberts were named to the All-Championship Team. VCU held a 48-42 lead with 10:23 to play, but the Hawks would tie up the score two more times. Down 52-50, Roberts hit one free throw and Bembry completed a three-point play to put the Hawks up, 54-52. The Rams tied it 54-54 on a pair of free throws by Treveon Graham at 2:56, but Galloway hit a step-back three-pointer to give the Hawks the lead for good, 57-54. Roberts put down a dunk off a feed from Bembry at 1:29 to put SJU up 59-54, and the Hawks iced the game from the foul line. Galloway made 4-of-5, Chris Wilson made one shot and Bembry hit a free throw with :20 to play to provide the final margin.
CHAMPIONSHIP SUNDAY: Saint Joseph’s captured its third Atlantic 10 Championship and the first since 1997. It was the second title for the Hawks under coach Phil Martelli, with the other championship coming in 1986 when Martelli served as a Hawks’ assistant coach.
ON A ROLL: Saint Joseph’s has gone 20-5 since a loss to #14 Villanova on December 7. That included a six-game winning streak, which was the longest since a seven-game streak in the 2008-09 season. The Hawks went 6-2 in January, had a 6-1 mark in February, and are now 4-2 in March.
20-20: The Hawks have matched the number of wins from the 2004-05 season (24-12). Phil Martelli has guided the Hawks to 20-plus wins eight times in his career, and in two of the past three seasons (20 wins in 2011-12). With a win in this game, SJU would post its most victories since the 2003-04 team went 30-2.
BRACKET BOYS: This is Saint Joseph’s third straight postseason appearance, but first NCAA Tournament berth since 2008, when the 11th-seeded Hawks lost to sixth-seeded Oklahoma, which featured Blake Griffin. Phil Martelli has led the Hawks to the postseason 12 times, with six NCAA bids and six appearances in the NIT.
BUFFALO BOUND: Saint Joseph’s actually has a previous history playing in the NCAA Tournament in Buffalo, and a successful one. This arena is where the Hawks started their journey to the Elite Eight in 2004. The number-one seeded Hawks defeated Liberty, 82-63, and then Texas Tech, 70-65, to advance to the Regionals in East Rutherford, N.J. SJU’s season came to an end just points away from the Final Four with the 64-62 loss to Oklahoma State in the Regional Final, finishing the memorable season with a 30-2 record.
PHIL AND THE TOURNEY: Phil Martelli owns a school record 17 postseason wins (6 NCAA, 11 NIT), ahead of Dr. Jack Ramsay’s total of 12. He ranks first among Hawk coaches with a .608 winning percentage (17-11) and has taken SJU to postseason play 12 times in his 19 years. Martelli is 6-5 in NCAA Tournament games during his career.
DEJA VU’?: The last time Saint Joseph’s entered the NCAA Tournament as the Atlantic 10 Champions was in 1997. The Hawks proceeded to reach the NCAA Sweet 16, defeating Pacific and Boston College, before falling to number-one seed Kentucky in the Regional Semifinal.
UPSETTING NEWS: The Hawks have posted a 4-4 mark as the lower-seeded team in NCAA Tournament play. The last “upset” for the Hawks was one of the biggest in school history, when ninth-seeded SJU defeated No. 1 seed DePaul in the 1981 NCAA Second Round, 49-48, on a last-second layup by John Smith. The Hawks would go on to defeat Boston College before falling to Indiana in the Regional Final.
HAWKS VS. THE TOP 25: The win over #21 UMass was Saint Joseph’s first win over a ranked opponent this season and the first since an overtime win over #20 Notre Dame on Nov. 16, 2012. It was the first Top 25 win at Hagan Arena since an 82-72 win over #22 Temple on Feb. 25, 2012.
The Hawks then scored a win over #23 VCU in the A-10 title game, giving them a 5-6 record against ranked teams in the last three years, counting this season.
CHAMPIONSHIP THREAD: Phil Martelli and assistant coach Geoff Arnold were involved in the Hawks’ two A-10 titles thus far. Martelli was an assistant coach for the 1986 team, while Arnold was a senior guard on that squad. Martelli then coached the 1997 champions, which was his second year as SJU’s head coach.
FACING THE FIELD: Saint Joseph’s has faced seven teams this year which are in the NCAA Tournament - Dayton, George Washington, UMass, Saint Louis, VCU, Creighton and Villanova. The Hawks own a 6-5 record vs. those teams.
MR. EVERYTHING: Halil Kanacevic earned Most Valuable Player honors at the A-10 Championship and showed why he’s been called the Hawks’ most valuable all year long. He had 26 points and 17 rebounds in the semifinal win over St. Bonaventure, making a career-high 8-of-12 free throws in the win, while hitting 8-of-12 shots from the field. He followed that with 11 points, 14 rebounds, four assists and two blocks in the title game win over VCU. Phil Martelli has called him the Hawks’ “most indispensable player” and has called him the “best teammate” on the squad.
TOURNEY TIME: Langston Galloway averaged a team-high 22.7 points per game in the three games of the Atlantic 10 Tournament, while hitting 51.3 percent from the field and 56.5 percent from three-point range. Halil Kanacevic averaged 15.3 points, 14.3 rebounds and 3.7 assists. Ronald Roberts (12.7) and DeAndre’ Bembry (10.7) also averaged double figures in the tournament.
ALL-AROUND GUY: Halil Kanacevic is the only player to wear the Saint Joseph’s uniform and amass over 1,000 points, 900 rebounds, 400 assists and 200 blocks in his collegiate career. The senior now has a total of 1,139 points, 1,021 rebounds, 401 assists and 213 blocks, totals which include his freshman year at Hofstra. In looking at where those totals rank among SJU’s career leaders, Kanacevic is 36th in points, fifth in rebounds, ninth in assists and fifth in blocks.