St. Joe’s vs UMass LIVE GAME BLOG

We’re back at Hagan Arena after a 17-day hiatus and some things still have not changed: namely the Hawks are still winless in league play and still have not won in 2011.  The Hawks (5-17, 0-8 A-10) have not had much go their way lately as their losing streak is now at nine.

The problem on offense remains the same for the Hawks: there is no one who consistently scores once one’s eyes wander past Carl Jones’ name in the box score. Jones scored 21 points in Wednesday’s loss to Richmond to push his team-high scoring average to an even 18 points per game.  After that, however, the scoring drops off significantly.  Langston Galloway averages 10.8 points per game but seems to have hit the freshman fatigue wall since the year turned over.

The Hawks desperately need to solve that problem tonight. Jones has been ruled out of tonight’s game with a sprained ankle sustained in practice.  Jones prepared with the hopes of playing, but has been ruled out 45 minutes before tip.  Senior guard Charoy Bentley will start in his place.  Bentley averages 7.3 minutes per game and 1.4 points per game—a far cry from Jones’ totals.

Justin Crosgile is unavailable tonight as well as the guard is entering the second game of his leave of absence from the team for personal reasons.  His veteran presence–even though only a sophomore–will be missed tonight as he would have likely played 20+ minutes in Jones’ absence.

The strongest secondary performer of late has been Ronald Roberts, who has pushed his way in the starting lineup with a strong two weeks of play.  He scored 17 points against Temple last Saturday to earn a spot in the starting lineup against Richmond.  His athleticism has been too much for many of the Atlantic 10 opponents thus far.

The Minutemen (13-8, 5-3) have been paced by fifth-year senior guard Anthony Gurley.  Gurley is the only UMass player to average double figures with 20.3 points per game.  The Minutemen have gone 2-2 in conference play on the road, dropping games to Xavier and St. Louis while beating Charlotte and St. Bonaventure.

Hawks’ Head Coach Phil Martelli has been stuck on win 294 since the new year.  He looks to take one step closer to 300 tonight, but will need to figure out a way to slow the game down or find someone else to put up points in Jones’ absence.

7:06… We’re about to tip it off.  Here are tonight’s starters…

SJU: Idris Hilliard, Charoy Bentley, Ron Roberts, Daryus Quarles, and Langston Galloway

UMass: Anthony Gurley, Gary Correia,Javon Farrell, Terrell Vinson, and Sean Carter

The Hawks control the tip and go empty on two shots for their first possession.

7:16… The Hawks have looked anemic on offense thus far.  Luckily for them, UMass hasn’t been any better.  Daryus Quarles has all five Hawk points thus far as they trail 7-5 at the first media timeout.  St. Joe’s is having trouble creating offense.  Everyone is standing around waiting for Carl Jones to make a play.  Meanwhile, Jones is sitting on the bench in a track suit with a sprained ankle.

Another concern for the Hawks is their rebounding tonight. They’re getting the uncontested layups but that’s it.  Anything UMass goes up for, they’re getting.

We’re at the 14 minute mark now and the Hawks are down 7-6 after a Galloway free throw out of the timeout.

7:25… The Hawks are taking the air out of the ball early in the game.  They’re simply dribbling around waiting for something to happen.

St. Joe’s took a lead for about 15 seconds following a Ron Roberts three-point play.  UMass has responded with back-to-back buckets to extend their lead to 12-9.

The Hawks need to find some form of offensive threat as they inbound the ball with 10:22 to play.

7:30… Thirteen minutes into the game, one thing is brutally apparent: without Jones, not a single Hawk can take his man off the bounce.  Every shot St. Joe’s has been created by ball movement or in desperation at the end of the shot clock.

A Ron Roberts put-back and Langston Galloway three have been the recent scoring for St. Joe’s, who still trails 16-14 with 7:03 to play until half.

CJ Aiken is struggling mightily from the floor thus far.  The score would be far different if he was hitting at his normal clip.

7:39… Todd O’Brien is getting eaten alive in the post.  He’s getting knocked around, has committed two fouls due to being out of position, and air-balled an open 6-footer in the lane.

A three-pointer by Patrick Swilling and a long two by Charoy Bentley have kept the Hawks close.  The score now sits at 20-19 UMass with 2:59 to play until half.

7:43… Four straight points for Langston Galloway and a dribble-drive score for Patrick Swilling gives the Hawks a 25-23 with 41.2 seconds to play.  The scoring and a big block and rebound by O’Brien have given the home fans reason to cheer.

The Hawks have the ball coming out of their use-it-or-lose it timeout.

7:46… St. Joe’s ends the half on an 8-2 run to give the home squad a 27-23 lead at the half.  Todd O’Brien finished an open layup off of a pick-and-roll play to finish the half.

UMass star Anthony Gurley’s long three clanged off the iron as the horn sounded.  Gurley has been held in check thus far, notching four points in the first half.

Official first half stats to come shortly, so stay tuned…

8:00… The Hawks were paced by Langston Galloway’s eight points and three assists in the first half.  Quarles, Roberts and Swilling each scored five.  Yes, that’s 23 of the 27 SJU points being scored by freshmen.

UMass’s two leading scorers, Gurley and Terrell Vinson, have combined for five points on 2-10 shooting.  Center Sean Carter leads the way for them with six points.

One of the big keys for the Hawks was their low turnover total.  The Hawks gave the ball up only four times, a surprising stat given their top two point guards are out tonight.

8:11… The Minutemen have erased the Hawks’ halftime lead in an offensive display much better than the first half for both teams. UMass has used the full-court press and some accurate jumpshooting to tie the score at 34-34.

Galloway has scored five in the early going to St. Joe’s, giving him a game-high 13 tonight.  The Hawks’ other basket came on a drive by Daryus Quarles, who now has seven points on the night.

8:21… Charoy Bentley hit an acrobatic layup and got the foul for a three-point play, eliciting shouts of  “Where have you been for three years?” Galloway hit two threes to push his game-high scoring total to 19, eliciting shouts of  “Where have you been for the last month?” And the Hawks seem to be clicking…

Aside from the shoddy rebounding that plagued them early in the game, St. Joe’s is hanging tough without leading scorer and starting point guard Carl Jones.

Hawks lead 45-37 with the ball and 11 minutes to play.

8:29… Galloway just buried his fifth three of the game, this time from the corner, and he is feelin’ it.  He now has 22 points to lead all scorers.

The Hawks hold a 50-37 lead with 8:31 to play, forcing Coach Derek Kellogg of UMass to call time out.

8:38… You knew UMass had to make a run at some point.  Freddie Riley has hit for the last five points and the Hawks’ lead has shrunk to 50-44 with 6:17 to play.

8:46… Just as the Minutemen were making a run, Daryus Quarles comes off the bench to score three quick points and preserve the Hawk lead.  He will be at the line to complete a three-point play out of the last media timeout.

Freddie Riley has been the story of the last six minutes.  He has 11 points, including three three-pointers, keeping the Minutemen within reach.

The Hawks have struggled from the free-throw line down the stretch, leaving the door open for UMass.

St. Joe’s has the lead 56-53 with 3:40 to play and Daryus Quarles at the line for one.

8:51… The Hawks are clinging to a two-point lead as they call a 30-second timeout.  58-56 with 2:16 to go.

8:55… Galloway turned the ball over against the press and Freddie Riley nails another three to bring the Minutemen to within one at 61-60. St. Joe’s had just scored on another three by Galloway, bringing his total to 25.

SJU ball with 1:21 to play.

8:58… Swilling drives and scores for St. Joe’s to give them a 63-60 lead.  Idris Hilliard then corralled the rebound off Gary Correia’s missed three.

Timeout St. Joe’s with 34.4 seconds to play and a three-point lead.

9:03… UMass with a four-point possession.  Hilliard is now at the line for two FTs.  65-64 Hawks with 12 second left.

9:07… Hilliard hits both free throws, Matt Hill misses the front end of the one-and-one for UMass, and the Hawks pull out their first win of the conference season and their first win of 2011 by a score of 67-64.

Thanks for following along tonight.  For a full recap of the game, check out The Hawk newspaper–on newstands Wednesday.

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