Saint Joseph's would begin to battle back, as Langston Galloway started to find his stroke, draining shots from beyond the arc on consecutive possessions to pull the Hawks within five. Chris Wilson would tie the score at 23 after hitting two foul shots for Saint Joseph's with three minutes remaining in the half. Denver would respond with a dunk to regain a 25-23 lead heading into the locker room, as both teams went scoreless over the final 2:44 of the half.
With much of the team struggling early, the Hawks relied on Galloway to keep them in the game, as he had 10 first half points. While Galloway was able to keep things close, Ronald Roberts went 0-7 and DeAndre' Bembry just 1-8 in the half, epitomizing the Hawks' struggles, as they shot just 27.6 percent and were held to just 6 points in the paint.
Jalen Love led the Pioneer's with 11 points in the first half, as Denver shot 45.8 percent.
The Hawks would tie the game at 25 and take a 27-25 lead on two made free throws by Bembry early in the second half, as the freshman began to heat up, scoring 7 points in the first 4:35 of the half alone.
The two teams would continue to battle, before Saint Joseph's took a 45-37 lead with 8:07 left. Denver would not be done however, pulling within two at 51-49 with less than two minutes remaining.
In the waning seconds, Denver would get a nice look at the go-ahead three, but would miss and have their put-back attempt blocked by Halil Kanacevic. Chris Wilson would step to the line and make both free throws with .6 seconds remaining to ice the game. Denver would hit at open shot at the buzzer, but the Hawks would prevail, 53-52.
"We're fortunate. They missed two dead layups in the first half, they missed an open 3 here...They (Denver) are extremely well drilled," said Saint Joseph's coach Phil Martelli on the win.
Galloway would lead the Hawks in points with 14, while Bembry finished with 13, 10 of which came in the second half. While Roberts struggled with his shot, he finished with 9 points, contributing immensely on the boards, as he grabbed 15 rebounds, 8 on the offensive glass.
"It was definitely frustrating. I couldn't buy a basket," Roberts said. "Basketball is a two-sided game. If your shots aren't going you got to do something else. You have to pass, get rebounds. I'm a defensive first player."
While it was the Hawks' fifth win in a row, they continued to struggle from the foul line, making just 13 of 23 shots from the charity stripe.
"Disconcerting, alarming...It's gonna get us, we know its gonna get us," Martelli said of the foul shooting struggles.
The Hawks begin league play on Wednesday, as they visit Massachusetts, but there are improvements to be made before then.
"I think we're ready to practice on Monday. We have work to do," Martelli said.
By: Kyle Babcock
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