Minutemen fly past Hawks

St. Joe's and UMass were scheduled to tip at 2 o'clock Saturday afternoon. Roughly two feet of snow delayed the start time, pushing the game back to 7. In the end, the snow wasn't the only thing raining down on the Hawks Saturday. UMass dropped 80 on St. Joe's, en route to a convincing 80-62 win.

UMass used intense ball pressure, Chaz Williams' speed, and nearly a dozen high-flying dunks to run all over St. Joe's on Saturday night. With the win, the Minutemen improved to 16-6 overall, and 6-3 in Atlantic 10 play. St. Joe's, on the other hand, dropped to a disappointing 13-9, and 4-5 in Atlantic 10 play.

Mid-way through the first half, St. Joe's senior guard Carl Jones nailed a three to give the Hawks a 20-19 lead. In the game's first ten minutes, the Hawks scored 20 points, putting them on pace to have one of their better offensive games of the year. Unfortunately for the Hawks, over the half's final ten minutes, only six points were scored. UMass went on a punishing, efficient, acrobatic 21-6 run over the half's final ten minutes.

St. Joe's came out of halftime looking like a different team, however. In just over two minutes, the Hawks went on an 8-0 run, turning a 40-26 game into a 40-34 contest. It appeared as if the Hawks were ready to have what would have been a critical comeback win.

UMass reopened a double-digit lead over the next several minutes, before the Hawks made yet another run. At the 6:57 mark of the second half, Carl Jones hit another three, pulling the Hawks within five, at 59-54. That's when it all went awry. UMass head coach Derek Kellog called a timeout, and the Minutemen proceeded to go on an 11-0 run to put this one out of reach.

In the end, the Minutemen cruised to an 80-62 win, giving the Hawks their second consecutive loss. Following last Saturday's impressive comeback win at home against Temple, the Hawks dropped two straight on the road: at Dayton and at UMass.

The Hawks really struggled Saturday with the ball, committing 14 turnovers to only 15 assists. On the flip side, UMass only turned the ball over 5 times. SJU out rebounded the Minutement 30-26, but in the end, the 14 turnovers by the Hawks led to 14 UMass points, and that was, in and of itself, essentially the ballgame.

Despite taking only six shots, it could be argued that UMass point guard Chaz Williams was the best player on the court Saturday. He had 11 points on six field goal attempts, dished out 9 assists. had 2 steals, and was an all-around menace on both sides of the ball. Terrell Vinson led the Minutement with 18 points. As a team, the Minutemen shot at impressive 52% from the field. That's what happens when an overwhelming percentage of your points come on dunks and layups.

On the Hawk side of things, Langston Galloway had 14 points and 7 assists, while Halil Kanacevic had 12 points and 7 rebounds.

St. Joe's, at 4-5 in league play, returns to action Wednesday night against Richmond at home. They then square off Saturday against La Salle at The Palestra. With seven games remaining in the regular season, the Hawks are in a situation where they need wins, Badly. And soon.

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