Struggling from beyond the arc as well as the charity stripe, the Hawks would be unable to put much distance between themselves and the Rams, taking a 26-21 lead with 2:51 remaining in the first half.
Rhode Island would tie the game at 27 with a minute remaining and Xavier Munford would hit a shot from beyond the arc with the clock winding down to head to the break up 30-27.
Ronald Roberts would led the Hawks in the half with 7 points, while Halil Kanacevic and DeAndre' Bembry would add 6 points apiece. Saint Joseph's would shoot 40.7 percent in the half, but struggle immensely from beyond the arc, making just 1 of 10 attempts, as well as from the free throw line, where they went 4 for 10.
Gilvydas Biruta led the way for the Rams with 7 points, while Jarelle Reischel added 6 points on 3 of 3 shooting.
The Rams extended their lead out of the gate in the second half, going up 37-31. The Hawks would respond however, as Langston Galloway knocked down a three to cap an 18-2 run, putting Saint Joseph's up 49-39 with 6:50 left.
Rhode Island wouldn't be done however, as they began to make up ground with the help of poor free throw shooting by Saint Joseph's. Down 57-52 with 49.2 seconds remaining, the Rams would continue to send the Hawks to the line, and with the help of missed free throws, were able to pull within 60-57 with 9.3 second remaining on a Xavier Munford shot from beyond the arc.
Forced to foul yet again, the Rams would send Galloway to the line, and the senior guard would make one to ice the game and give the Hawks a 61-57 win.
"I knew it would be a grind game," said Saint Joseph's coach Phil Martelli. "I knew that defensively they've really put a lot of stock in their defense...They made us fight every possession."
In just his second game back from an injury, Ronald Roberts would lead the Hawks to victory, scoring 20 points and grabbing 9 rebounds in 37 minutes of play. Langston Galloway, who entered the contest just three three-point field goals from the all-time record at Saint Joseph's was suffocated from long range all night, as the Rams did everything they could to prevent shots from beyond the arc.
Galloway would find other ways to beat Rhode Island however, scoring 15 points while going 8 for 10 from the free throw line.
Xavier Munford led the Rams in the loss, scoring 16 points and grabbing 8 rebounds, as Rhode Island fell to 10-10 on the season.
While the Hawks were able to scrap out a win on an off shooting night, free throws continued to be a major concern, as they made just 21 of 38 from the line. Poor free throw shooting has plagued the Hawks all season, and could catch up with them in close games, especially come tournament time.
"I don't even know what word to put on it," Martelli said of the Hawks' free throw struggles.
The win improves Saint Joseph's record to 13-5 on the season and 3-1 in the A-10. The Hawks will next face Richmond on the road on Saturday.
"The next game is Richmond, so we have to prepare for Richmond," Martelli said of a tough upcoming stretch for Saint Joseph's.
By: Kyle Babcock