Galloway would miss both free throws, but it made no difference, the Hawks had won. With a 65-61 victory over VCU, Saint Joseph's won their first Atlantic 10 Tournament Championship since 1997. The Hawks were off the bubble and officially into the big dance.
"Tomorrow we're coming over here for rings and nets," Martelli said after yesterday's win over St. Bonaventure. They will now head back to Philadelphia with both in hand.
Galloway, Halil Kanacevic and Ronald Roberts Jr., would continue to carry the load, scoring 24 of Saint Joseph's 28 first half points. Under heavy pressure from the VCU defense however, the Hawks found themselves unable to pull away as they went to the locker room up 28-24.
The Hawks would make 46.2 percent of their shots in the half, as Galloway led the way with 9 points on 3-of-6 shooting, including 3-of-4 from beyond the arc. Saint Joseph's other senior starters filled the stat sheet in the half as well, as Roberts scored 8 points and grabbed 7 rebounds, and Kanacevic tallied 7 points and 8 rebounds.
While the Rams shot just 33.3 percent in the half, they forced 8 turnovers, resulting in 10 points as they went to the break down by just four.
The Rams emerged from the locker room ready to go, tying the game at 35 before taking a 43-40 lead with 12:37 remaining, their first lead of the game.
The two teams would trade blows before Galloway drained yet another three to give the Hawks a 57-54 lead. Roberts would follow that with a powerful dunk, as the Hawks began to smell victory.
Saint Joseph's would ice the game at the foul line over the final minutes, as they sealed their invitation to the big dance with the 65-61 win.
"It's truly an honor to come in here and win these three games. It's one of the top five leagues in America," said Martelli.
Galloway led all scorers with 19, while Tournament Most Outstanding Player Halil Kanacevic finished with 11 points and 14 rebounds. Rounding out the strong effort from the senior captains was Roberts, who finished with 15 points and 11 rebounds.
"It's the championship game. It didn't matter if we were tired or hurt, anything. We just wanted to go out there and play hard and leave it all out there," Galloway said.
With the pressure lifted, the Hawks will no longer wait for the selection committee to decide their fate tonight, but rather will be able to relax as they wait to learn who will be their opponent in the first round.
By: Kyle Babcock
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