PITTSBURGH, Pa. – Saint Joseph's late rally wasn't enough as the Hawks' season came to an end with a 70-63 loss to Massachusetts in the 2017 Atlantic 10 Championship First Round at PPG Paints Arena.
James Demery had a game-high 21 points and 11 rebounds for his fourth double-double of the year. Atlantic 10 All-Rookie selection Charlie Brown scored 14 points, hitting 4-of-7 three pointers for 13th-seeded Saint Joseph’s, which ends the year with an 11-20 record. Freshman Nick Robinson had a career-high seven assists.
Seniors Javon Baumann went 3-for-3 from the floor for six points and Brendan Casper scored five points in their final game in a Hawk uniform.
Trailing 58-39 with 8:11 to play, the Hawks seemed to be out of the game. But they went on a 14-0 run, paced by seven points from Demery, and ending with a three-pointer by Brown, to cut the deficit to 58-53 with 4:12 remaining.
Donte Clark made 1-of-2 free throws for UMass at 3:21 and from there, the 12th-seeded Minutemen would shoot 10-for-14 from the foul line to keep the game out of reach for the Hawks. Saint Joseph’s came within four points six times in the final three minutes but couldn’t overcome UMass’ foul shooting.
A layup by Demery at :14 pulled the Hawks within, 66-63, but Zach Lewis hit a pair of free throws and Anderson secured the win with a dunk at :06 to provide the final margin.
The Hawks led by four points with 10 minutes to go in the first half, but then went scoreless for close to four minutes, allowing UMass to retake a lead they wouldn’t relinquish. Saint Joseph’s came within 27-24 with 2:25 to play, but the Minutemen scored the final four points of the half to own a 31-24 halftime lead.
SJU shot just 24.1 percent in the first half, but improeed to 48.5 percent as they made their comeback in the second. The Hawks made only 4-of-8 free throws in the second half, while UMass 18-for-24 in the game.
Anderson led UMass with 17 points, while Lewis had 14 and Luwane Pipkins scored 13. The Minutemen will face 5th-seeded St. Bonaventure in the Second Round.
Saint Joseph’s, which lost four players to season-ending injuries, will return 15 players to the squad in 2017-18.