Hawks are Atlantic 10 champs

On Sunday afternoon, St. Joe's defeated VCU 65-61 in the Atlantic 10 Championship Game at the Barclay's Center. Senior forward Halil Kanacevic had 11 points, 14 rebounds, and 4 assists in the win, and was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player. For full coverage on the A10 championship, Saint Joseph's first since 1997, take a peek inside.

St. Joe's had four players in double-figures on Sunday afternoon, led by senior shooting guard Langston Galloway, who finished with 19 points. Kanacevic (11 points and 14 rebounds) and Ron Roberts (15 points and 11 rebounds) both had double-doubles for the Hawks, and freshman DeAndre Bembry had 13 points and 8 assists.

VCU, on the flipside, was led by guard Rob Brandenberg's 18 points. The Rams struggled shooting the ball, going 37% from the field, 26% from three, and 53% from the free-throw line.

Halil Kanacevic and Ron Roberts scored Saint Joseph's first 11 points on Sunday, helping the Hawks jump out to an early 11-4 run over the Rams. Shaka Smart's bunch stormed back, however, and tied it up at 11 on a Juvonte Reddic slam. Langston Galloway settled things for the Hawks, and knocked in two threes in three SJU possessions, extending the Hawks' margin back to six.

Galloway would hit his third three of the opening stanza at the 1:31 mark, and Saint Joseph's entered the locker room with a 28-24 lead over VCU. Galloway paced the Hawks with 9 in the first half, and Roberts also chipped in with 8 points. St. Joe's did turn it over 8 times in the first half.

Rob Brandenberg, who paced the Rams, canned a three at the 15:40 mark of the second half to tie things up at 35. From there on out, it was a nip-and-tuck affair. Another Brandenberg bucket with just over 10 minutes to play gave VCU a 48-42 lead. St. Joe's responded right back though, with DeAndre Bembry and Halil Kanacevic scoring the Hawks' next six points.

Down 52-51, DeAndre Bembry muscled his way to the rim, scored off the glass, flexed his biceps, and finished off a three-point play to give Phil Martelli's crew a 54-52 lead. Following two VCU free throws, Langston Galloway buried a three off the dribble to give the Hawks a 57-54 lead, and moments later Ron Roberts slammed one down to extend the lead to 59-54.

A Treveon Graham triple pulled VCU within 64-61 with 24 seconds to play, but it would be too little, too late for the Rams. St. Joe's finished off the Rams, 65-61 and captured their first Atlantic 10 title in 19 years.

VCU played Sunday's title game without the Atlantic 10 6th Man of the Year Melvin Johnson. Johnson was injured in Saturday's win over George Washington and was unable to go Sunday. He averaged 10.4 points per game for the Rams this year, and shot 40% from three. The Rams could have used that, as they struggled from deep, only shooting 5-19 from deep.

After turning it over eight times in the opening half, the Hawks only turned it over four times in the second. As he did in SJU's win over VCU at home, freshman DeAndre Bembry was critical in the winning effort. Bembry repeatedly helped Chris Wilson and Halil Kanacevic break VCU's havoc. Bembry, in addition to his important three-point play and monstrous dunk on Mo Alie-Cox, had 8 assists to only 2 turnovers against that full-court pressure.

St. Joe's got a game-winning three from Langston Galloway in Friday's win over Dayton in the quarter-finals. The Hawks got a 26-point, 17-rebound effort from Halil Kanacevic in yesterday's win over Saint Bonaventure. Then, today, in the title game against VCU, seniors Langston Galloway, Halil Kanacevic, and Ron Roberts combined for 45 points and 29 rebounds.

Hawk Hill Hardwood will have a Selection Sunday recap up tomorrow, with a look at SJU's NCAA tournament opponent, UConn. The 10th-seeded Hawks and 7th-seeded Huskies will play at 6:55 Thursday night. It will be a busy week for the Hawks, and a busy week here on Hawk Hill Hardwood.

Hawk Hill Hardwood Top Stories