St. Joe’s-Dayton men’s basketball live game blog

10:00- I’ll leave you with this final, parting thought: there is now way I would take credit for calling this victory, as my earlier score prediction testifies. But I did say this in my blog on the Towson game Monday night:

No one expected this team to beat URI at the Ryan Center, but none of the other games are out of the realm of possibility. A win over Dayton would take a gargantuan effort, but the team that played against Villanova could get it done.

This team put forth one hell of an effort tonight, and they won because they wanted it more. They won a lot of hustle plays that won’t show up in the box score, and used that desire to overcome a team that was clearly superior in terms of skill and athleticism. For all the other things this mediocre team has done wrong this season, they deserve all the credit in the world for tonight’s effort.

That’s all for this evening, one that will go down in the St. Joe’s history books. Goodnight everybody!!

For full game story, click here…

9:15- The sign in his locker reads “1. Winning Approach; 2. Maximum Effort”. Garrett Williamson, ’10, lived that mantra on the court tonight.

He led the way for the Hawks with 15 points and five rebounds, and sealed the game with an emphatic block on Rob Lowery’s attempt at a game-winner in St. Joe’s 60-59 upset victory.

“It was a good fight; certainly a good fist-fight, against a team that is an elite team, not only in this league, but also an elite team in the nation,” said St. Joe’s head coach Phil Martelli. “To get a win and to shoot 39 percent and really not have a way offensively, that’s a good fight. That’s a good step forward for this group, and I’m happy for that.”

Both teams struggled to establish themselves out of the gate, but the Hawks took the lead on a pair of free throws by Darrin Govens, ’10, with 8:57 left in the first half, and didn’t relinquish it the rest of the way. They held a four-point edge at the end of a fast-paced first half, and adapted to the slower style of play in the second half to maintain a lead that stretched as high as nine and hold off the Flyers’ late surge.

The Hawks’ lead stood at nine as late as the 5:25 mark before the Flyers’ put their spurt together, and back-to-back lay-ins by Wright cut the lead to one. Charoy Bentley, ’11, in for his defensive ability, missed the front end of a one-and-one with 14 ticks left, but atoned on the defensive end by slowing Lowery down just enough on the game’s final possession for Williamson to fly in from the weak side and swat the ball into the waiting arms of Govens to seal the win.

“We’re just trying to improve everyday, and I feel like we have been improving,” Williamson said. “Now it’s league play; it’s a whole new season. Nobody believes in us; we have to believe in each other, and we believed in ourselves tonight and put our best effort out there and we came out with the win.”

Dayton (14-5, 3-2 A-10), a team that has often been the essence of team balance this season on offense, found points hard to come by from anyone not named Chris Wright. The Player of the Year candidate led them with 28 points on 12-20 shooting, and accounted for one-third of team’s total field goal attempts. No one else on Dayton had more than eight points, and they were woeful both from the field (22-61, 36.1 percent) and from three-point range (13.6 percent) thanks in large part to the zone defense from the Hawks.

It was that defense the led the Hawks to victory, especially in light of their second-half performance on the offensive end. They shot just 39.3 percent from the field after halftime, managed 1-8 from three, and were outrebounded 27-13 in the second half. But they were able to hold the Flyers to a paltry 27.6 percent shooting performance from the field over the same second half.

“We stood our ground defensively,” Martelli said. “It sounds crazy to come out of there -13 in rebounding and say we did a nice job defensively, but I thought we never lost our composure, and that’s happened to us all year long where we’ve lost our composure, when a team kind of punches you in the chest. And that’s what Dayton tries to do.”

The Hawks (7-11, 2-3 A-10) were boosted by 13 points form Idris Hilliard, 11 form Darrin Govens, and 10 from Justin Crosgile, all in the first half. They shifted the focus after halftime, taking the ball to the hole with more conviction, outscoring the bigger Flyers’ team 20-10 in the second half.

8:29- Full game story is on the way folks…we’ll have a full wrap up in just a little bit.

8:06- WILLIAMSON BLOCKS LOWERY ON A DRIVE!!! THE SENIOR COMES UP WITH A BIG SWAT OUT TO GOVENS, WHO FINDS PRESCOTT TO RUN OUT THE CLOCK!!! WHAT A GAME FOR THE HAWKS, WHO EARN A 60-59 WIN!!!!!!!!

8:05- Bentley, who somehow is in the game on offense, gets fouled an misses just his eighth free throw attempt of the game with 10.4 left. A scramble gives the ball to Dayton…

8:04- Govens turns the ball over in the face of Dayton’s full court press, and Lowery drives the lane to dump off to Wright for a follow.

8:03- And nails the second. Hawks up five. CJ has a three go in and out, but Wright follows to cut it to a one possession game, 60-57.

8:02- Williamson milks 28 seconds off the clock, and makes a heady drive to the basket that draws a crowd of Flyers. Looked like someone got the ball clean, but Lowery also got a lot of man, and sends the Hawks senior captain to the line. He hits the first…

8:00- Perry hits a three with Idris in his face to halve the lead. SJU now up 58-55, with 1:11 left. Gregory calls another timeout to diagram a defense; he’s got one left.

7:59-Crosgile absorbs some contact in the lane, but can’t finish a runner. But Govens is there to clean up the scraps and tip the rebound home. He’s got 11, Hawks up six.

7:58-CJ misses a three, but Warren collects and eventually finds Wright, who earns a trip to the line courtesy of Hilliard’s third foul. He hits both, and the lead is down to four with 1:52 left.

7:56- Crosgile just misses his third three of the game after a patient possession that milks more than 20 seconds off the clock. Dayton get the ball up to the frontcourt, and takes their third timeout with 2:12 left, score still 56-50 SJU.

7:56- One of the guys in red has a three-point attempt go halfway in, then out, and though the Hawks turn the ball over down the court, Dayton returns the favor as Perry steps on the end line….

7:55- Here’s your game reset: Flyers have the possession arrow and one foul to give, while they will be shooting the double-bonus from here on out. O’Brien’s three and Baptiste’s four are the only foul concerns for St. Joe’s, while MJ has three for the Flyers.

7:53- Wright double-clutches but still manages to bank one in from the low post, but Govens looks up and finds Williamson on a home run pass for a dunk. Garrett was 13 points, as does Hilliard, while Crosgile has 10 (all in the first half) and Govens has nine to lead the Hawks. Meanwhile, Wright’s 22 is the only Flyer double-figure scorer here at the final media timeout; SJU up 56-50, 3:03 left.

7:51- Lowery responds on the other end with a triple of his own; it’s just the Flyers’ second conversion in 18 tries from deep. SJU still up 54-48 with 4:08 loooooooooong minutes remaining.

7:50- Hard-nosed Hilliard earns a jump ball on the ensuing defensive possession, but Williamson comes up short on a wide open three on the offensive end. Gotta think that’s fatigue-related. It would have blown the lid off this place.

7:48- HUGE TURN HERE!!! O’Brien basically takes the ball out of Warren’s hands on a block, and Williamson tries the same shot on the other end, skying over MJ and laying it in. He misses the free throw, but still has the Hawks up nine, 54-45, with 5:25 to play.

7:46- Dayton enters the double-bonus with 6:12 to play, largely due to the influence of Gregory, according to the boisterous fans behind me. It mirrors the disparity pointed the other way in the first half.

7:45- O’Brien re-enters, as do some anonymous Dayton players who may or may not have been on the court prior to the break. Wright steps up with a block, but misses on his attempt on the offensive end. He has just three points on 1-4 shooting in the first 14 minutes of the second half.

7:43- Time can’t move fast enough for Hawk fans, many of whom are jammed in the student section today. It filled up late, as it was about half empty just prior to tip-off (glad I held off on commentary there). But now the stands are pretty full, with the only visible vacancies in the upper right-hand corner (section 207). The Arena’s pretty tight elsewhere, but it’s not a sell-out (sorry sjuhawks.com).

7:41- Now that ain’t a freshman play!!! Crosgile passes up a long three-pointer with three seconds left on the shot clock to find Irwin cutting to the basket for an easy lay-in. He gets lazy and fails to box out on a missed three on the other end, but Williamson is there with the denial and the Hawks will have the ball when we come back from the under-8 timeout; up 52-43 with 7:02 left.

7:40- The Flyers are in the bonus already thanks to a 9-4 edge in fouls drawn. Huelsman celebrates by hitting one of two from the line for his first point of the game to cut the lead to seven.

7:39- Hilliard hits another jumper, and Dayton comes up empty on the other end despite a missed travel by Lowery and missed loose-ball foul by Wright. Hawks still lead, 50-42.

7:37- Crosgile checks in as the Hawks stay small with Irwin and Hilliard up front to buy valuable minutes for O’Brien and Baptiste. You would think O’Brien wouldn’t stay on the bench long past the under-eight timeout.

Also, Warren heads quickly to the locker room with a trainer in hot pursuit, but he’s out in less than a minute.

7:35- Prescott misses his fifth straight shot without even hitting anything resembling rim on a wild runner across the lane, but Wright gets called for what seems like a long-awaited (and quite obvious) travel to give the ball back to the Hawks, up 48-42 with 9:27 left after Dayton’s second timeout.

St. Joe’s is hanging on despite poor shooting, going just six for 14 from the field this half, and 1-5 from three. Also, an update on the TO-3P count: 3-1.

7:33- Warren hits two free throws, and follows it up with a lay-in around a nice runner from Hilliard. Idris has 11 to lead St. Joe’s tonight.

7:31- St. Joe’s is forced to go small with Williamson, Jones, Prescott, Irwin, and Hilliard. But Irwin’s game gets a whiff of some smelling salts as he hits a three for his first points of the game. Wright gets called for a three-second violation on the other end, and the Hawks are quietly up eight, tying their largest lead of the game.

7:29- You have to think the low-scoring half so far favors the Hawks, but the Flyers can put up points in bunches at a pace St. Joe’s just can’t match. Maybe the men’s team can take a lesson from the women’s team at midweek, who were able to amass a big lead (albeit bigger than anything St. Joe’s has put together tonight), and were able to withstand the Flyers’ best punches for a comeback win??

Also, on the turnover-three-pointer count, it would be 3-0 so far. Dayton also holds an 11-4 edge on the boards in the second.

7:27- Gregory looking a little miffed at his Lowery’s foul of Jones late in the clock, but Williamson has a lapse in concentration and fumbles the ball out-of-bounds. No harm, despite foul there. Dayton maintains possession on the other end after a jump ball between O’Brien and Huelsman; Hawks still lead 43-38 with 11:53 to play.

7:26- Bit of an issue now, as Baptiste picks up his third and fourth fouls in quick succession, and he was spelling O’Brien with three. Still, the bigs have done a great job tonight, if nothing else, as the triggermen to receive inbounds passes in the middle of the court against Dayton’s fullcourt pressure.

Dayton only converts one of the free throws; they’re just five-of-nine from the charity stripe.

7:25- Hilliard skies in over one of the Johnson’s for a lay-in to put the Hawks back up six. The Dayton defender tried to flop, and Hilliard went right over him. That’s a guy in crimson and gray wanting it more.

7:22- Williamson gets a piece of a lay-in attempt by Huelsman, and has had a couple of nice defensive plays already this half. He’s playing like he really, REALLY wants this game tonight.

7:20- Govens skies into Wright for a lay-in (little use of the off-hand their, but we like the intensity), but is a little too amped up the next time down the court and fires way long on a three in transition.

By the way, the Hagan Arena faithful are constantly calling for traveling calls on the Flyers every time they drive the lane. But I hate to break it to them, they’re just that darn long and athletic.

7:18- Jim Paxson and Dan Patrick check in for Dayton now; Chuck Noll has his warmups off too (yes, they’re all alums).

7:16- It should come as no surprise that the disparity in team speed is becoming more apparent as the game wears on. The Flyers are just getting into the open court with the ball faster, and recovering defensively in shorter order than the Hawks. The teams trade turnovers, and a steal attempt by Williamson goes out-of-bounds to send us to the Under-16 media timeout, SJU up 39-37.

7:15- It’s lucky number 13 for MJ and the Flyers, who finally break through from three-point range to cut the lead to one. But an athletic move by Baptiste on the other end earns him a trip to the line, and he converts one of two to restore a two-point lead, 39-37.

7:12- Williamson has another nice drive to the hole for a score, and the Hawks earn a stop on the other end that gets called back on a loose-ball foul by Williamson that looks a lot like the refs trying to make amends from the first half foul count. Justice is served, as the possession ends up empty. Hawks still up 38-34.

7:11- MJ now earns a trip to the line, and can only muster one of two; Hawks still lead 36-34.

7:11- O’Brien get’s his money’s worth on a foul on CJ that Dayton wants to be called a flagrant. They don’t get their way, and CJ shakes out the cobwebs to make one of two.

7:10- HOLY @#$%!! Wright nails dunk number four after taking off from the first hash mark under the free throw line. But Williamson answers with a less spectacular deuce to keep the Hawks up four.

7:09- Both teams roll out the starters to open the second 20 minutes. Govens misses a three before the Hawks put up a nice defensive stand.

7:07- I’ve just been informed that was the best first half of Chris Wright’s career, scoring-wise. And the Hawks are still up. Talk about confidence-inspiring.

7:05- Looking to the second, the Hawks certainly have to be happy with where they stand. But they will need to cut out the mistakes (turnovers, missed lay-ups), maintain their rebounding intensity, and probably up their three-point shooting to have a realistic chance to hang on. If they can manage more three-pointers made than field goals this half, I think they can pull of an upset (big reach on that analysis, I know.)

7:01- You know all that stuff I said about the Flyers’ balance? Well, turns out I’m an idiot. Wright has been the only one doing anything of note for Dayton tonight with 17 of the team’s 30 points. No one else has more than four, and only five players have scored. The Johnson’s (Chris and Marcus) each have four points. Meanwhile, the Flyers are 0-11 from three-point range, and have only managed three trips to the free-throw line.

The Hawks are being led by 10 points from Justin Crosgile, who is 2-4 from three-point land. Idris Hilliard and Darrin Govens each have seven points, while Garrett Williamson has added five. The Hawks are 4-9 from three, and have made the most of their foul advantage, going 10 of 11. They’re not shooting particularly well from the field, (10-25, 40 percent) and their 11 turnovers are higher than Martelli probably would want, but they actually hold an edge on the boards (16-15). They’re getting dominated in the paint (22-8) and have been bested so far in fast break points (12-9), but they have to be happy with the performance so far.

6:51- Despite what looked like some serious disorganization, Crosgile shows great initiative to take the ball to the whole and draw a foul, then sinks two from the line. Wright’s 35-footer at the buzzer just rims out, and the Hawks have a 34-30 advantage at the break. I’m exhausted; halftime stats in a minute…

Keep reading for first half play-by-play…

6:50- A missed shot/pass/dry heave by O’Brien leads to a lay-in by Wright to cut the lead to two. Wright covered the last half of the court in about four strides. Wow.

6:48- Whatever he said worked, as Wright flushes number three on the night, and a strip by Warren leads to a lay-in and a St. Joe’s timeout with 54.9 seconds left to play in the half, the Hawks’ lead down to four at 32-28.

6:47- CARL JONES HITS A THREE FROM THE CORNER!! The freshman’s first points of the game put the Hawks up eight with 1:45 to play, and Gregory wants a timeout to discuss things with his charges.

6:46- O’Brien does well to back Huelsman down, but misses a turn-around lay-in, and Hilliard misses the follow. The Hawks have missed a few lay-ins so far, and have to be much better tonight if they sense the upset in the air.

6:44- Wright misfires from three, the Flyers’ 10th straight miss to start the game. But Jones turns the ball over on the other end as the shot clock runs down, and the Hawks fail to capitalize. Still up five…

6:41- St. Joe’s is having a harder time getting looks in their halfcourt offense because of the Flyers length in passing lanes as the 35-second clock violation that sends us into the media timeout attests.  You get the feeling that the Hawks will have to shoot out of this world from three-point range tonight, because they darn sure can’t run with Dayton. They still hold a five-point edge, 29-24 with 3:48 left.

6:39- There’s dunk number two for Wright after a Goven’s turnover, but Williamson says “Wright back at you” and lays it in on the other end to preserve the six-point margin.

6:37- An offensive foul by MJohnson put the Hawks in the double bonus with 5:16 left to play. Wright re-enters the game, as does Baptiste for the Hawks. Have to say O’Brien has done a solid job so far with a couple rebounds and a few other tips to keep the ball alive.

6:35- Williamson gets a rare blow after logging 40 minutes against Towson, and celebrates his return by setting up Crosgile for a three-point attempt that goes halfway in, then out. But Crosgile atones by setting up Govens the next time down the court for a triple to put the Hawks up 25-21 with 6:04 left.

6:34- This game is being played at a devilish pace, which at the beginning of the year was what Martelli wanted his team to do. But the two teams have already combined for 13 turnovers, which probably isn’t what either coach is looking for.

6:33- By the way, the Chris Wright dunk counter is now up to one, which is his 105th career, the Dayton all-time record. He converts the free throw, and now has 11.

6:31- I guess I should shut up about the St. Joe’s lineup that was out there. In four minutes of play, the Hawks managed 10 points and expanded their lead (12-11 to 22-20) with Crosgile and Hilliard on the bench the whole time, and O’Brien and Govens getting significant spells on the pine. The rest will be important for them, and St. Joe’s is going to have to get a lot from the bench to stay close tonight.

6:29- An O’Brien dunk ignites the crowd, while the combination of a missed travel on the Flyers, and a sketchy double-dribble called on Govens puts them up in arms. On the other end, Wright slams a put-back home and heads to the line courtesy of Irwin on the other side of the media timeout; SJU up 22-20 with 7:49 to play.

6:28- CJ now picks up his second personal and has to sit; Govens converts two from the charity stripe to put the Hawks up 20-18. Needless to say, but I’m going to say it anyway, they will have to come up big there this half.

6:25- Wright is now 4-4 from the field, but the Flyers have already committed seven fouls to put Hawks in the bonus. Crosgile converts two as Benson sits with two fouls, or possible just because his uniform number just came out of a bingo machine, with the Hawks up 18-16

6:24- Williamson puts together a big time move going right at Huelsman; he converts the hoop and the harm to put the Hawks up 16-14.

6:22- St. Joe’s comes out of the timeout with the formidable fivesome of the formerly concussed Bryant Irwin, Chris Prescott, Baptiste, Jones, and Williamson. The shot-clock violation after Prescott’s desperation three is blocked should come as no surprise.

6:20- Seriously, I have no idea who is on the court for Dayton anymore, and I don’t know if Gregory does either. At the under-12 minute timeout, 10 guys have seen the court already. For the rest of the night, just assume that five guys of variable heights wearing read are on the court; I’ll ferret out the notables.

6:18- Dayton are taking the ball to the basket hard tonight, and but have settled for kickouts for three, of which they’ve missed all five attempts, thanks to some good lowpost denials by the Hawks. It doesn’t stop MJohnson from blowing by Carl Baptiste to retake the lead, 12-11

6:15- Carl Jones is also in the game for St. Joe’s now, for Crosgile, as Govens finds Hilliard on a beautiful back-cut for a dunk. Govens then takes a charge on the other end from Benson to give the Hawks the ball back, up 11-8 with 14:25 left to play. I think those were solid basketball fundamentals there, no?

6:13- Thank god ESPN is here tonight; it means longer commercials for me to catch up on the action. Without them, I wouldn’t be able to right something like congrats to Kurt Huelsman, for tying Dayton’s school record for all-time starts tonight at 119.

6:11- O’Brien picks up a foul that sends CJ (Chris Johnson; I just can’t write that out all night) to the bench. although it would have happened anyway in all likelihood soon enough. Mickey Perry, Devin Searcy, and now Josh Benson are also in. Wright has six early points on 3-3 shooting to knot the game at eights, 15:13 left.

6:10- The player scoreboards are out on the ends of the gym; there’s the old Fieldhouse I know. Govens hits a jumper to put the Hawks up 8-6 after two baskets by Wright.

6:08- The token fullcourt pressure of Dayton is giving St. Joe’s problems (hey, if you’ve got the legs, use them. But once they get the ball up the court, they’ve been fine, with Crosgile hitting two straight threes to give the Hawks a 6-2 lead with 17:15 to play.

6:07- First change of the game just over a minute in, with Rob Lowery replacing Warren. That was even faster than the 18:07 prediction I had written on my scoresheet.

6:05- Marcus Johnson scores so quickly I didn’t even get a chance to tell you who’s covering who. After a Govens miss, I can tell you Williamson has the responsibility of Chris Johnson (that’s a height issue for sure), Crosgile is somewhere near Warren, and Govens has Marcus Johnson.

6:03- A few quick notes: Just in case Wright was wondering whether or not he would get the opportunity to dunk on a white guy from West Virginia today, Bryant Irwin has been cleared to play in tonight’s game. He was active in warmups, so we’ll see. Also, the dance team is back tonight, which really doesn’t help anyone reading this blog at all.

6:01- Here are out lineups. Dayton going with Chris Johnson, Chris Wright, and Kurt Huelsman down low; London Warren and Marcus Johnson in the backcourt. As we said, expect to see the bench early and often, including some early wholesale changes.

The Hawks roll out Todd O’Brien and Idris Hilliard in the paint; Justin Crosgile, Garrett Williamson, and Darrin Govens in the backcourt. I think you have to be concerned about Hilliard on the defensive end today, and he can easily get in foul trouble and be out of rhythm offensively because of it. Unfortunately, that big athletic guy shtick of his won’t work against Dayton’s bigger, more athletic front court.

5:55- Before tip-off, we’ve got a little math exercise for you:

Villanova beat St. Joe’s by eight;

Villanova beat Dayton by six;

Therefore, St. Joe’s should be able to keep within one possession of the Flyers, right? (I know I slept through the logic unity in my Human Person class a lot, but this still sounds wrong.)

Anyway you calculate it, it’s going to be a struggle for the Hawks tonight. Dayton has too many fresh legs for them to keep up with, and too many matchup nightmares. You’d be hard-pressed to say the Hawks have a match-up edge at any position, and even if they did, Dayton coach Brian Gregory has the luxury of making an adjustment pretty darn quick.

Score prediction: not much good news here, Hawk fans; Dayton 78-56.

5:50- We’ve got a match-up tonight of teams essentially on polar opposite ends of the A-10 spectrum, with title contenders Dayton visiting St. Joe’s, who have become conference bottom feeders this year. A lot of that can change with a strong performance tonight against the Flyers though, as the Hawks also get a semi-national tv showcase on ESPNU (Scott Graham and Tim McCormick bringing you the action there). The Hawks have struggled mightily this year, but do come in off a win in their last time out, albeit a bit of a struggle, against Towson.

Dayton meanwhile enters with just one blemish on their conference record, that at the hands of in-state rival Xavier in a tough 78-74 decision in Cincinnati. Their won their last game, 66-51, against George Washington, and also have a comfortable win at Fordham and an overtime squeaker against Duquesne.

For the Flyers, it all starts with their Player of the Year candidate in Chris Wright, though his numbers (13.6 points per game) may not reflect it, but make no mistake, it isn’t a one-man show. Chris Johnson has been stellar as well this year, averaging 12.6 points per game as defenses have keyed in on Wright. 11 players average over nine and a half minutes per game, and no one on the roster is under six feet in height (bad news for you, Charoy Bentley). They have been dominant on the boards this year, out rebounding opponents by nearly five boards a game, while St. Joe’s has averaged getting outrebounded by nearly nine a game. The combination of size and depth alone may make it a long night for the Hawks, who must be counting their blessings that Monday’s game against Towson gave them an extra two days of rest.

Hello, and welcome to the Hagan Arena for tonight’s Atlantic 10 tilt between the Saint Joseph’s (6-11, 1-3 A-10) and the Dayton Flyers (14-4, 3-1 A-10). Tip-off is in about a half hour, and we’ll be back in just a few minutes to set the scene for you.

(Latest updates on top)

We’ve been hit all year, and I feel like a game like this, it’s only good if we go out and get the next one. We’re just trying to improve everyday, and I feel like we have been improving. Now it’s league play; it’s a whole new season. Nobody believes in us; we have to believe in each other, and we believed in ourselves tonight and put our best effort out there and we came out with the win.

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