PHILADELPHIA – Carl Jones scored 23 points to lead five Hawks in double figures as fifth-seeded Saint Joseph’s defeated 12th-seeded Charlotte, 80-64, in an Atlantic 10 Championship First Round game at Hagan Arena.
The Hawks (20-12) advance to face fourth-seeded St. Bonaventure in the Atlantic 10 Quarterfinals on Friday afternoon (2:30 p.m.) at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City.
Jones made 7-of-11 from the field and hit 6-of-7 free throws in the game. Langston Galloway scored 18 points and Halil Kanacevic had 16 points and 11 rebounds for the Hawks, which reached 20 wins for the seventh time under coach Phil Martelli. Ronald Roberts and C.J. Aiken had 10 points apiece for SJU.
Saint Joseph’s led the entire game, and by as much as 14 in the second half before Charlotte went on a 9-0 run to come within 52-47. A three-pointer by Jones gave SJU a 55-47 cushion, but Charlotte made another run, coming within 63-60 with 7:05 to play.
Two SJU free throws and a dunk by Roberts built the lead back up to 67-60 with 4:57 to go. With 3:11 to play, Charlotte cut the Hawk lead, 69-64, but Saint Joseph’s closed out the game with an 11-0 run, paced by five points from Jones to provide the final margin.
“The balance obviously jumps out at you, five guys in double figures and the rebounding was a big deal. We got on the glass and that was a bugaboo last week at St. Bonaventure. They had 20 offensive rebounds and coming out of this game with Charlotte having eight, it’s significant,” said Martelli. “Again, I’ve been saying this all year, there’s a reason to practice tomorrow, there’s more that can be done and more that will be done. I think the guys off the bench, Chris Wilson and Ron Roberts, had a real impact on the game. ”
Saint Joseph’s staked a 13-4 lead in the first seven minutes and then led 20-9 on a three-pointer by Aiken at the 10:10 mark, for their biggest lead of the half. Charlotte used an 11-3 run to pull within, 23-20, and then trailed by just 30-27 with 1:54 left. Roberts scored the Hawks next four points, including an alley-oop dunk off a pass from Kanacevic just before the buzzer, giving SJU a 34-27 halftime lead.
Saint Joseph’s shot 68.2 percent from the field in the second half and connected on 47.6 percent of their three-point attempts in the game.
Charlotte, which shot just 5-for-19 from three-point range, was led by Chris Braswell with 20 points and seven rebounds.
“I thought we screened a little bit better and we played more basket-to-basket as opposed to last game (a 57-52 loss to Charlotte on Jan. 7),” said Martelli. “All we’re trying to do now is practice one more day. Now we know we have practice tomorrow. We practice on Thursday and we get an afternoon game on Friday.”