PITTSBURGH – The Saint Joseph’s men’s basketball teamed rallied from a 16-point second half deficit to defeat Duquesne in overtime, 84-82, Wednesday evening at the A.J. Palumbo Center. Trailing by six points with less than five minutes left, the Hawks rallied to tie the game on a last-second jumper by junior Carl Jones, and outscored the Dukes 6-4 in the overtime to earn the win in the Atlantic 10 opener for both squads.
Down 74-68 with less than three minutes to go, Saint Joseph’s (11-4, 1-0 Atlantic 10) cut the margin to one point on three occasions, but Duquesne answered each time, with Sean Johnson hitting the first of two free throws to make it a 78-76 game with 15 seconds to go.
Following a SJU timeout, Johnson missed the second free throw, with Saint Joseph’s sophomore forward Halil Kanacevic’s grabbing the rebound. Using most of the clock on the offensive end, Jones created room and knocked down a jumper to tie the game at 84-84 with 5.4 second remaining.
Johnson had a chance to give Duquesne the win in regulation, but the Hawks’ sophomore forward C.J. Aiken swatted the attempt to force overtime.
In the extra period, Saint Joseph’s would never trail as sophomore forward Ronald Roberts Jr. scored the first four points for SJU on a dunk and a pair of free throws.
The Dukes tied the game at 82-82 on a layup by Mamadou Datt with 1:56 left, but Saint Joseph’s countered with an Aiken layup at 1:32.
From there, neither team would score as Duquesne’s Eric Evans missed a game-tying jumper with one second remaining. Kanacevic would gather the rebound for SJU and purposely miss free throws at the opposite to preserve the win for the Hawks.
In the first half, Duquesne took a 25-14 lead as Saint Joseph’s struggled from the floor to start. The Hawks shot just 5-for-13 from the field and had 7 turnovers to open the contest. A three pointer by Aiken cut it to 25-17 but that was the closest SJU would come the rest of the half.
The Dukes twice held a 14-point advantage, with the second coming with 2:26 to go in the half on a three pointer by T.J. McConnell. Duquesne, who got 19 points from McConnell in the opening frame, would take a 40-27 lead into halftime as Saint Joseph’s hit just 9-for-25 from the floor in the half and turned the ball over 10 times.
Trailing 44-28 less than two minutes into the second half, Saint Joseph’s rallied to cut it to a single-digit deficit with just over 12 minutes to go. Kanacevic and Langston Galloway combined for 14 of the Hawks’ first 17 points, with Jones making it a 51-44 game on a free throw at 12:31.
Duquesne (9-6, 0-1 A-10) answered back with three-straight three point field goals, as Kadeem Pantophlet’s second-straight basket from behind the arc gave the Dukes a 60-44 edge with 10:08 to go.
The Hawks would counter with a 17-4 run as a pair of free throws by C.J. Aiken made it a one-possession game, 64-61, with 6:11 to go. Aiken and Galloway combined for 13 of Saint Joseph’s points during the run, while the Hawks’ defense held Duquesne to 1-of-5 from the floor and caused one turnover.
For the game, SJU hit 29-of-61 from the field (47.5 percent), 9-of-18 from three-point range and 17-of-28 from the foul line (60.7 percent). The Hawks finished with a 42-30 edge in rebounding, with Kanacevic grabbing a game-high 15 boards to go with 11 points. Roberts also posted a double-double, finishing with 13 points and 10 rebounds, while Galloway scored a team-high 19 points. Jones and Aiken capped five Saint Joseph’s players in double figures, adding 19 and 15 points, respectively, with Aiken rejecting nine shots.
At the other end, Duquesne hit 28-of-63 from the floor (44.4 percent), 11-of-18 from behind the arc (61.1 percent) and 15-of-20 from the foul line. McConnell led all scorers with 28 points, with Johnson adding 17 points.
Saint Joseph’s returns to action this Saturday when the Hawks host Charlotte at 2 p.m.