Before the Atlantic 10 tournament, it was believed that St. Joseph's needed at least one win to keep its hopes for a bid to the NCAA tournament alive. The Hawks went a number of gigantic steps better. With all five starters playing 37 or more minutes Sunday, St. Joseph's defeated Virginia Commonwealth, 65-61, to win the Atlantic 10 championship at the Barclays Center. Four starters scored in double figures and all five had seven or more points. The Hawks (24-9) earned the NCAA automatic bid in winning their first A-10 title since 1997. Senior forward Halil Kanacevic, who had 11 points and 14 rebounds, was named the tournament MVP. Kanacevic averaged 15.3 points and 14.3 rebounds in the wins over Dayton, St. Bonaventure and VCU. Langston Galloway, who scored 19 points and Ronald Roberts Jr., who had 15 points and 11 rebounds, were also on the all-tournament team. Hawks freshman forward DeAndre' Bembry scored 13 points and point guard Chris Wilson scored seven and committed just two turnovers in 38 minutes against the frenetic defense of VCU, which fell to 26-8. Galloway broke a tie with a three-point field goal that gave the Hawks a 57-54 advantage with 2 minutes, 30 seconds left. After VCU's Briante Weber missed a three, the Hawks went up, 59-54, when Bembry found Roberts alone inside for a dunk with 1:30 left. VCU's Juvonte Reddic then committed a turnover, stepping out of bounds when attempting to drive the baseline while being defended by Kanacevic. Galloway padded the lead to 61-54, hitting two free throws with 58.8 seconds left. Treveon Graham then hit two free throws for VCU. The Hawks' Wilson hit one of two free throws, but Weber followed his own miss to cut St. Joe's margin to 62-58 with 34.3 seconds remaining. VCU didn't want to foul Galloway, the Hawks' top free-throw shooter, on the next possession but had no choice. Galloway hit both foul shots, making it 64-58 with 29.6 seconds left. VCU wouldn't let the Hawks off the hook. Graham then stroked a three-pointer to make it 64-61 with 21.2 seconds left.
St. Joe's conquers VCU for Atlantic 10 title
Philly.com | Mar 17