With the Rams closing in down the stretch, senior forward Halil Kanacevic took a huge charge with 32.9 seconds left and the Hawks up by 3. The call gave the Hawks the ball back with time winding down and sent VCU coach Shaka Smart into a frenzy, as his squad fell by a final score of 69-62.
The Hawks would get past the "Havoc" defense of the Rams as the half began to wind down, taking a 26-20 lead. Saint Joseph's would close out the half strong, utilizing a 19-10 run to head to the break with a 34-26 lead.
DeAndre' Bembry and Langston Galloway would lead the Hawks in the half, with 12 and 10 points, respectively. Saint Joseph's controlled the boards in the half, out-rebounding VCU 23-15, 9-2 on the offensive glass, as they scored 15 second chance points in the half, compared to just 2 by the Rams.
Juvonte Reddic scored 8 in the half for the Rams, but VCU found themselves unable to create as much havoc as usual. Entering the game, the Rams led the nation in turnovers forced with 19.3, but would force just 5 turnovers by the Hawks in the half, as they were outscored 8-2 off turnovers.
The Rams picked up the pace offensively to start the second half, pulling within 38-35 on a three-pointer by Melvin Johnson with 14:11 remaining in the game. Saint Joseph's would respond with a 9-2 run however, taking a 47-37 lead on a Bembry layup with 11:51 left.
Saint Joseph's would grow their lead to 63-50 on a monstrous dunk by Ronald Roberts off an alley oop from Bembry with 5:56 remaining. The Rams would outscore the Hawks 12-2 over the next 4:41 to pull within 65-62 and raise the heart rate of everyone in Hagan Arena.
VCU would drive the basket with just 32.9 seconds remaining down by three, but there was Kanacevic, as the senior took the charge, despite already having four fouls, to get the Hawks the ball back.
"I'm going to take it, because either way, if they call it the other way it's my fifth foul. I went for it. I think I was there," Kanacevic said.
Galloway would be sent to the line for the Hawks and ice the game, and Chris Wilson would knock down two free throws as well, as Saint Joseph's held on for the 69-62 win.
"After Saint Louis, we were a little down on ourselves because we didn't play the way we should have. You can't go 0-2 in this league in a week. It's a killer if you do that to yourself," Kanacevic said.
Galloway led all scorers in the contest, as he scored 24 points for the Hawks. Bembry added 18 for Saint Joseph's, and Kanacevic finished with a well-balanced line with 7 points, 10 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 blocked shots and 1 crucial charge taken.
"Once we had the ball and were moving it, we wanted to go to the rim. For us, we have to play a balanced game. We're not just going to lean on jumpers. Layups are a big deal," coach Phil Martelli said.
The Rams were led in the loss by Reddic, who finished with 17 points and 8 rebounds, while Johnson added with 14 points.
Saint Joseph's improves to 16-7 with the win and 6-3 in A-10 play. The Hawks will not be back in action until next Saturday, when they visit Big 5 rival La Salle at Gola Arena.
"It was definitely big for us. We needed some momentum going into next Saturday against La Salle. That's what we did, we got a win and momentum is on our side now," Galloway said.
By: Kyle Babcock
Follow us on Twitter: @BroadStBeat