St. Joe’s vs. Xavier LIVE GAME BLOG

St. Joe’s enters tonight’s game riding a winning streak.  While it is only two games long, that phrase can finally be uttered for the first time in the year 2011.  The Hawks have gotten great backcourt play in the last two games–against UMass and at Fordham– in order to give them their first two Atlantic 10 wins.

The story of late has been the play of freshman Langston Galloway.  The guard has scored 25 points in each of the last two games and has been named Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Week in each of the last two weeks.  He led the Hawks in leading-scorer Carl Jones’ absence in a 67-64 win over UMass that snapped the Hawks’ nine-game losing streak.

He led three Hawk guards in double figures with another 25-point performance on Sunday in St. Joe’s comeback win over Fordham.  Carl Jones (15 points) and Charoy Bentley (14 points) also reached double figures for the Hawks.

Tonight’s opponent is the 18-6 Xavier Musketeers.  Xavier is led in scoring by their two guards, Tu Holloway (20.7 points per game) and Mark Lyons (13.5 points per game).  They are joined in double figures by the frontcourt tandem of Kenny Frease (11.8 ppg, 8.9 rpg) and Jamel McLean (11.4 ppg, 8.9 rpg).

Xavier’s front court figures to pose the biggest challenge for the Hawks tonight.  Frease (7’0, 270) and McLean (6’8, 245) have a distinct size advantage against Ronald Roberts, Idris Hilliard, and CJ Aiken.

We’re six minutes from the tip.  Starting line-ups soon to come.

6:59… This just in from the Athletic Communications office: Todd O’Brien and Patrick Swilling are both out for tonight’s game.  Swilling is out due to a violation of the student code of conduct. O’Brien failed to comply with the community standards.

7:05… Here are tonight’s starting line-ups.

Xavier: Tu Holloway, Mark Lyons, Dante Jackson, Jamel McLean, and Kenny Frease

St. Joe’s: Idris Hilliard, Ronald Robert, Daryus Quarles, Langston Galloway, and Carl Jones

7:14… St. Joe’s played well in the first four-minute stanza, jumping out to an 8-7 lead at the 15:42 mark after trailing 7-3 early.

Xavier went straight to the blocks early and got a quick four points from Kenny Frease.  Mark Lyons has also hit a three in the process.

The Hawks have been right there on the offensive end, however, as the shots are falling.  Given the Musketeers’ distinct advantage in the paint, St. Joe’s will need the shots to continue to fall as they have.  Threes by Jones and Quarles as well as a mid-range jumper by Hilliard give the Hawks their eight points.

7:24… You think senior Idris Hilliard wants to win this one?? The 6’7 forward has 10 of the Hawks’ 18 points including a three-pointer and a three-point play on a dunk.

Xavier is clearly just trying to take advantage of the size difference, getting the ball to Frease and McLean almost every possession.  Frease has six points early and McLean has two.

St. Joe’s is simply playing well on offense right now as the Musketeers are still looking to get comfortable in their offensive sets. XU’s leading scorer Tu Holloway has still not even taken a shot.

18-13 Hawks with 9:30 to go.

7:31… The Musekteers have closed the gap over the last few minutes, pounding the ball inside some more as they take advantage of their size.  Kenny Frease scored again and made a nice pass out of the double-team to McLean for a dunk.  Mark Lyons has also shown the ability to get to the rim and score among the Hawk bigs.

The Hawks have cooled on offense a bit, but still remain in attack mode.

This game has flown by thus far as we are already under the six-minute mark.  We have had very few whistles and only one foul called.

It’s 20-19 Hawks with 5:54 to go.

7:34… A disgusted Phil Martelli just called timeout as Lyons again sliced the Hawk defense for a layup. Lyons has nine points, including three such layups, as the Musketeers reclaim the lead at 21-20.  5:04 to play.

7:39… The Hawks reclaimed the lead with a 5-0 spurt.  Charoy Bentley drained a three from the corner and Galloway hit two free throws on a McLean technical foul for slamming the ball down.

XU’s offense has sputtered as they constantly are forcing the post and not allowing their offense to flow to leading scorer Tu Holloway.

25-21 Hawks, under four minutes to go.

7:43… In the blink of an eye, the Musketeers just exploded for a 10-0 run to claim a 31-25 lead.  Kenny Frease scored seven of the 10, and assisted on a Lyons three-pointer, to cap the run.  Just over a minute left.

7:50… Xavier closes the half on a 13-2 run.  Tu Holloway capped the run with three free throws on Langston Galloway’s third foul of the half.  (Fun fact: Holloway has made more free throws this season than anyone else in the Atlantic 10 has attempted.)

Don’t expect the referees to be eating at Larry’s after the game.  The Galloway foul, as well as a double technical foul on Carl Jones and Mark Lyons have given the Hawk faithful all they’ve needed to express their displeasure.

First half stats

SJU: Hilliard 10 pts, Quarles and Bentley with 5 pts, Galloway has 4 pts and 3 fouls, and Jones has 3 points on 1-4 shooting.

Xavier: Frease has 13 pts and 5 rebounds, Lyons has 12 pts and 5 rebounds, McLean has 6 pts, and Tu Holloway has 3 pts.

Xavier has a 17-11 edge on the boards. XU has a 9/3 assist-to-turnover ratio against SJU’s 5/4.  Xavier has shot 48% from the floor against the Hawks’ 39%.

We’ll be back shortly with the second half.

8:12… The Musketeers have started the second half on a 6-0 run by way of baskets by Lyons, Frease, and Holloway.  Going back to the under-four timeout of the first half, Xavier is on a 19-2 run to extend their lead to 40-27.

Martelli burns another SJU timeout with 16:33 to go in the game.

8:16… The Hawks showed some fight coming out of the timeout with five straight points, but Holloway responded with a three-pointer and the Musketeers are up 43-32.

Hilliard has buried another three to push his team-high point total to 13.  He is 5-6 on the night including 2-2 from three.  He has been the only performer for the Hawks tonight.

Galloway will be at the line for two out of this timeout.  He has taken it to the basket and drawn fouls on two straight possessions.  15:19 to go.

8:23… The Hawks have turned up the defensive pressure and have turned the Musketeers over three straight trips now.  Free throw shooting by Galloway and Jones have provided the recent offense.

Xavier leads 45-37 with 12:50 to go.

8:26… Not much more action in the last minute.  The teams have traded turnovers and we’re at the media timeout with 11:50 to play.  Xavier leads 45-37.

8:40… Tu Holloway has taken over this game for the Musketeers.  He is scoring from the free throw line and distributing the ball well as Xavier has taken a 57-40 lead with 7:57 to go.  Holloway has 12 points (7-7 FT shooting) and six assists.

The Hawks’ offense has gone stagnant, as some of the team’s best chances have been wasted by poor free throw shooting by Ronald Roberts.  Roberts is 1-6 from the stripe in the second half.

8:51… It’s safe to say that this one is over.  The Hawks simply didn’t have enough to hang with the size and athleticism of the Musketeers.  St. Joe’s will have the ball coming out of the final media timeout trailing X by a count of 64-47.

Ronald Roberts has shown a pulse in the last few minutes for the Hawks, making a couple plays–including a dunk and an off-balance layup–over Xavier’s Jamel McLean.  On the opposite end, however, they’ve had a few what-were-you-thinking? lapses.  One gave Mark Lyons an uncontested layup out of an inbounds.  Lyons has 22 to lead all scorers.

8:53… Another quick Martelli timeout after a nice post move and hook shot by Ronald Roberts.  XU’s Jordan Latham scored in his first minutes off the bench on the other end.  66-49 X with 2:53 to play. The Musketeers will have it coming out of the timeout; they will undoubtedly be facing some sort of pressure.

9:04… The Hawks drop this one by a count of 74-54.  Walk on Taylor Trevisan notched a career-high five points playing in the final 90 seconds of the game tonight.

Please check in next week’s issue of The Hawk for a full recap including coverage of the post-game press conference.

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