The Atlantic 10 Tournament will begin on Friday afternoon in Atlantic City, with Dayton-Xavier being the first of four Atlantic 10 quarterfinal match-ups. The eight remaining teams in the A10 tournament are, for the most part, no surprise. Xavier and Temple have been the class of the league all season long. Richmond has been right behind them, and then Duquesne and Xavier. One team that most did not expect to see in Atlantic City is Saint Joseph's. Yet, they find themselves among the eight remaining, and headed to Atlantic City this weekend.
The Hawks will take on Duquesne at 2:30 Friday afternoon at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City. The road there certainly wasn't an easy one. Saint Joseph's began Atlantic 10 play 0-8, and ultimately found themselves in a must-win game at Charlotte on Saturday. The winner of Saturday's contest would advance to the A10 tournament, and the loser would see their season come to a close. Freshman Langston Galloway willed the Hawks to a 71-70 win in the contest, netting 27 points. He and fellow guard Tay Jones combined for 46 of the Hawks 71 points. With that win, the Hawks earned a spot in the A10 tournament, and an opening-round contest at George Washington.
On Saturday, the two guards carried the SJU squad. It took a more balanced scoring effort, a stronger defensive performance, and overtime to take down George Washington at home yesterday. Last night, five Hawks scored in double digits, and another (Daryus Quarles) had 8. In addition, only one player (Idris Hilliard) took double-digit shots. SJU carried a 31-20 lead into halftime, only to see Tony Taylor and the Colonials make a strong surge in the second half. GW forward Jabari Edwards actually had a point-black shot at the very end of regulation that he clanked off the rim. Once the game got to overtime, the Hawks regained control and cruised during the extra frame. The Hawks were 71-59 winners down in DC.
With the win, Saint Joseph's improved to 10-21 on the season. They will play Duquesne for the second time this season. In the first meeting, on January 5th, Duquesne held a commanding 42-26 halftime lead at the Hagan Arena. The Hawks made a couple of runs in that second half, but ultimately couldn't whittle the deficit down to single digits. Duquesne took down the Hawks in their A10 opener 75-63 that night. One particular area of concern in that contest was turnovers, with SJU committing 19 of them. In order for the Hawks to have a chance on Friday, they will have to do a better job of holding onto the ball. SJU only committed 6 turnovers at Charlotte and 9 last night.