Saint Joseph's struggled throughout their contest with Denver on Saturday afternoon but managed to come away with a 53-52 win over Denver at Hagan Arena on Saturday afternoon.
In their final tune-up before starting conference play on Wednesday, Saint Joseph's struggled as Denver played disciplined basketball and controlled the tempo of the contest, which was played at a virtual crawl.
Saint Joseph's (9-4) scored the first three points of the game after a traditional three-point play from Halil Kanacevic, but then allowed the Pioneers to score the next 12 points as a Jalen Love jumper gave Denver a 12-3 lead with 13:35 left in the first half.
Denver (7-8) connected on 7 of their first 10 shots from the field and a lay-up from Love gave the Pioneers their largest lead of the contest, 21-10 with 8:28 remaining in the opening half.
However, Denver cooled off considerably in the rest of the first half, only hitting a pair of buckets over the final eight minutes of the first half, allowing St. Joe's back into the game despite shoddy shooting of their own.
St. Joe's quickly took the lead in the second half as DeAndre Bembry, who struggled mightily in the first half after shooting just 1-of-9 from the field, scored seven points in the first four and a half minutes of the second half to help give the Hawks a 34-30 advantage.
While Denver stayed close, Saint Joseph's held the lead for most of the second half and back-to-back baskets from Ronald Roberts Jr. from close range gave the Hawks a 49-42 edge with just over six minutes to play.
However, that would be the last made field goal for Saint Joseph's as Denver's defense stiffened in the final stages of the game, the Hawks struggled to get decent looks in the final stages of the contest.
Down just 51-49 with under two minutes to play, Denver had their chances to tie the game or take the lead, but the Pioneers committed two turnovers of their own during this stretch of the game.
After a miss from Galloway, the Pioneers had yet another chance to tie or win the game. Denver coach Joe Scott opted not to call a timeout and draw up a play for the final sequence. With four seconds to play, Marcus Byrd missed a three-pointer from the corner, although Chris Udofia grabbed the offensive rebound before being stripped by DeAndre Bembry as he went for the follow-up. Chris Wilson eventually came away with the loose ball and was fouled with less than a second to play.
After a lengthy delay to review how much time belonged on the clock, Wilson calmly knocked down both free throws to seal a Hawks victory.
Galloway led the way for St. Joe's with 14 points while Bembry recovered from his first half woes to finish with 13 points. Roberts Jr. corralled 15 rebounds for Saint Joseph's, who have now recorded five straight victories to mark their largest winning streak since 2011.
Love was the only double-digit scorer for the Pioneers as he led all scorers with 20 points in a losing effort.
Saint Joseph's begins Atlantic 10 play on Wednesday evening as they take a trip up to the Mullins Center in Amherst, Ma. to face off against nationally-ranked Massachusetts. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. and the game will be televised regionally on SportsNet New York as well as The Comcast Network.
* Denver owned a commanding 38-26 rebound edge despite Saint Joseph's having a distinct size advantage on the inside.
* Isaiah Miles left the game in the first half and did not return after a collision with Denver's Jalen Love.
* Former Princeton and Villanova coach Bill Carmody was in attendance and sat behind the Denver bench. Current Denver coach Joe Scott was an assistant for Carmody at Princeton in the 1990's.