Hawks hand Bluejays their first loss

On Saturday afternoon, in front of a sold-out crowd at Hagan Arena, Saint Joseph's improved to 7-3 on the year with an 80-71 win over #17 ranked Creighton. The win was Saint Joseph's first against a ranked opponent since 2008.

The Hawks were led by junior guard Carl Jones and his 29 points. Jones was one of four double-digit scorers for Saint Joseph's. Sophomores Langston Galloway (12), Ronald Roberts (12), and C.J. Aiken (11) also got into the action offensively.

Saint Joseph's outrebounded Creighton 37-24, led by sophomore Halil Kanacevic and his 12 rebounds. There was also a significant disparity at the free throw line, as the Hawks earned 29 trips to the line compared to only 9 for Creighton.

For the Bluejays, sophomore forward Doug McDermott led the way with 26 points and 10 rebounds. The Bluejays came into the contest third in college basketball in scoring, at roughly 87 points per game. Saint Joseph's held them 16 below their season average, mixing up man-to-man coverage with some zone on the defensive end.

In the first half, sophomore Langston Galloway kept Saint Joseph's in the game early, scoring 6 of the Hawks first 8 points. At the 12:28 mark of the first half, Doug McDermott had a tip-in that extended Creighton's lead to 15-7 and things appeared to be going completely in Creighton's favor. A CJ Aiken jumper off the dribble followed by a Carl Jones three, off a great assist from freshman Papa Ndao, brought the Hawks back to within 3, at 15-12.

After an Avery Dingman three for Creighton gave Creighton a 20-17 lead, the Hawks closed the half on an 18-10 run, giving them a 35-30 lead at the half. The highlight reel of the game, and frankly the season to this point, came with just over two minutes to go in the half. Ronald Roberts threw down a monstrous one-handed jam over a Creighton defender on the break, sending the Hawk faithful into a frenzy.

In the second half, Creighton came out with a clear-cut objective, and that was to feed Gregory Echenique in the post. They did so successfully, and Echenique scored Creighton's first six points of the second half, pulling Creighton to within 1, at 37-36. After some back-and-forth play, freshman Chris Wilson connected on a three from the right wing that extended Saint Joseph's lead to 47-41 with just over 12 minutes to go in the contest.

Although Creighton did claw their way back into the game at several points down the stretch, Creighton never got the Hawks lead down to a single possession through the final 7 minutes.

With the win, Saint Joseph's improved to 7-3 on the year. They now have five wins against teams that defeated them last season. Those wins being Western Kentucky, Penn State, Drexel, Boston University, and now Creighton. The loss was Creighton's first on the season, and drops them to 7-1.

Saint Joseph's has the week off for finals before their Holy War showdown next Saturday evening at 8 against Villanova. Check Hawk Hill Hardwood this week for several previews of next Saturday night's contest.

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