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Saint Joseph's season ends in overtime loss to Connecticut in NCAA Tournament

Halil Kanacevic looks on in despair on the Saint Joseph's bench after fouling out of the Hawks 89-81 NCAA Tournament Second Round loss against Connecticut.
Halil Kanacevic looks on in despair on the Saint Joseph's bench after fouling out of the Hawks 89-81 NCAA Tournament Second Round loss against Connecticut.
Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Saint Joseph's relied on their starting five for more minutes than any Atlantic 10 team during the course of the conference season.

It seems as if these Hawks ran out of steam when they needed an extra five minutes to get the job done.

Saint Joseph's led for the majority of their NCAA Tournament second round game against Connecticut but succumbed to the Huskies 89-81 in overtime.

In the Hawks first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2008, it was a back and forth opening eight minutes as the lead changed hands seven times as both teams came out firing on all cylinders from the field.

Saint Joseph's used a 10-2 run over a two minute and twenty-five second span to take control of the latter part of the first half.

The Hawks relied heavily on Langston Galloway, DeAndre Bembry and Ronald Roberts for their scoring in the opening half. Roberts threw down three slam dunks after being set-up brilliantly by his teammates while he also was the first to a pair of offensive rebounds which led to buckets.

Galloway knocked down a pair of three-pointers in the opening half and was 5-for-6 from the field overall as he continued to show an increased level of assertiveness.

However, before the end of the first half it was Connecticut who got rolling from the outside as their last four made field goals were from beyond the arc, including two from DeAndre Daniels.

A three-pointer from Ryan Boatright, well set-up by Shabazz Napier, accounted for the final bucket of the first half, cutting the Saint Joseph's lead to five, 40-35 heading into the locker room.

After Connecticut scored the first four points of the second half to cut the deficit to a single point, Saint Joseph's scored the next six points, five of which came from Galloway, as the Hawks reaffirmed control, grabbing a 46-39 lead with under 16 minutes to play.

Connecticut responded by knocking down a pair of three-pointers, first from Niels Giffey and then from Napier as the Huskies once again got the lead down to one point.

The Huskies took their first lead of the second half with just over nine minutes to play on a traditional three-point play by Napier as he dashed into the lane for a lay-up plus a foul.

Saint Joseph's then countered with seven straight points of their own, six of which came from Halil Kanacevic as Saint Joseph's re-took the lead, 62-57 with 6:09 remaining. The Hawks made it a point to test the Huskies down low as three of their interior players were in serious foul trouble, all with four fouls.

Napier made two key plays to give the Huskies a late lead, first getting to the bucket for a lay-up, cutting the Hawks lead to two. On the next possession, after a sloppy St. Joe's turnover, Napier set-up Daniels for a three-pointer which he swished to put Connecticut back in front by a point.

Down the stretch, Chris Wilson came up big at the right time as he first put up a floater which found the bottom of the net, giving the Hawks the lead once again. On the ensuing possession after a Huskies turnover, Wilson tried another floater and was fouled in the process. Wilson canned both free throws and the Hawks lead was 70-67 with 49 seconds left.

Napier missed a lay-up on the following possession but Amida Brimah came up with an offensive rebound and scored a put-back plus a foul. The 57 percent free throw shooter knocked down his shot from the charity stripe to tie the game at 70. That three-point play from an unlikely source wound up being a key factor in the outcome of the game.

Both teams had a chance to win the game in regulation, but Galloway struggled against the defense of Lasan Kromah and his wild shot did not catch iron, resulting in a shot clock violation. Napier got a good look from three-point range as the horn sounded but his shot was long and the 2014 NCAA Tournament's round of 64 had its first overtime game.

The key play in overtime happened just 72 seconds into the extra session as Daniels drove to the basket for a bucket plus a foul. Kanacevic committed the foul, his fifth, fouling out of the game early in the overtime session. Daniels hit the free throw to put the Huskies up by three.

Galloway moved into second on the all-time scoring list at Saint Joseph's with a three-pointer to tie the game at 73.

Unfortunately, the Hawks were fatigued after not making a single substitution in the second half and it showed, particularly on the defensive end as the Huskies were able to draw fouls continually against Saint Joseph's, who were a step slow defensively in overtime.

Connecticut connected on 16 of their final 17 free throw attempts of the game and the Huskies were able to seal the victory at the line, relegating the Hawks to heartbreak.

Galloway led all scorers with 25 points in his final game as a Hawk. Galloway finished just nine points short of becoming the second 2000-point scorer in program history. In fact, all five Saint Joseph's starters finished in double figures as Bembry scored 16 points, Roberts notched a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds, Wilson scored 13 points and Kanacevic netted 12 points along with 7 rebounds and 5 assists.

Napier finished with 24 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists as he took over in the extra session for Connecticut. Daniels netted 18 points while Boatright ended up with 17 points for the Huskies in the victory.

After the game, when Saint Joseph's coach Phil Martelli was asked whether fatigue was a factor in the Hawks struggles in overtime, the Hawks long-time coach seemed to play down that notion.

"When we got down, we had to chase, and that's not to our strength," Martelli noted after the game.

The careers of Galloway, Kanacevic and Roberts ended on Hawk Hill disappointingly without an NCAA Tournament victory after being regarded as the best recruiting class to come to Saint Joseph's in nearly a decade. The three seniors led the Hawks back from a difficult 4-4 start to the season and were a play away in regulation from a re-match against Villanova that they desperately wanted. However, the trio of seniors, plus fellow senior Daryus Quarles and Colin Kelly can be proud of bringing home Saint Joseph's first Atlantic 10 Championship since 1997.

Martelli was effusive in his praise about the Hawks key senior trio. "You're talking about three of them are going to go into the Basketball Hall of Fame sometime at Saint Joseph's," Martelli noted, "That's quite an honor."

Saint Joseph's seems to be headed for a season of transition. They welcome in an impressive recruiting class which will be profiled over the off-season, while also returning two starters in Bembry and Wilson. The contributions of seniors like Galloway, Kanacevic and Roberts will be difficult to replace.

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