Sunday, March 13, 2011

March Madness Upon Us

On Saturday afternoon, Saint Joseph's surprise run in the Atlantic 10 tournament came to an end with a 64-61 loss to the Dayton Flyers. Dayton advanced to the A10 Conference Finals, where they were downed by Richmond. With the win, RIchmond earned a spot in the NCAA Tournament, one of three Atlantic 10 teams to do so. Richmond, a 12 seed, will play Vanderbilt in their opening round game. Xavier, a 6 seed, will play Marquette, and Temple, a 7 seed, will take on Penn State. The lone A10 team in the NIT is Dayton, who look ahead to a first-round contest against Charleston.

After beginning conference play at 0-8, the Hawks made small strides down the stretch before their run in the A10 tournament. SJU was 6-5 in their final eleven games of the year. The loss yesterday brought an end to the careers of seniors Idris Hilliard and Charoy Bentley. Both seniors played significant roles down the stretch for the Hawks, especially during the A10 tournament. Hilliard had 15 points and 7 rebounds in his final game for the Hawks, Bentley had three first-half three-pointers in Saturday's contest.

While the Hawks lose Hilliard and Bentley, they bring in three new faces next year. Incoming freshman Chris Wilson will look to earn minutes at the point guard spot next year. Papa Samba Ndao, who enrolled at SJU this winter, will have four years of eligibility starting next year. The 6'8 native of Senegal will help the Hawks on the wing. Hofstra transfer Halil Kanacevic will look to add toughness inside for SJU. During his freshman year at Hofstra, Halil averaged 8.6 points per game, 7.6 rebounds per game, and 2 blocks per game. Halil will have three years of eligibility remaining.

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