Langston Galloway hit two free throws with 1.4 seconds left to give St. Joseph's a 58-57 win over Xavier Thursday night in the first round of the Atlantic 10 Tournament.
Neither Xavier nor St. Joseph's is a serious at-large contender for the NCAA Tournament, so the win was much needed for the Hawks. Galloway had 14 points, while Carl Jones and Halil Kanacevic had 11 each for St. Joseph's.
"I asked the them to empty their tanks, so at the end of the night you can put your head on the pillow and say 'I gave it everything I had," St. Joseph's head coach Phil Martelli said of his team.
In a game that was close throughout, St. Joseph's led by three at halftime, largely due to 13 points off of seven Xavier turnovers. But the Musketeers cleaned it up in the second half. They did not commit a single turnover over the second 20 minutes.
Even better for Xavier, its tight defense led to some easy offense to help the Musketeers regain the lead. Steals and traps enabled the Musketeers to get out and run, resulting in several easy chances.
When Brad Redford hit a three with 11:23 to go, Xavier led by eight and appeared to be in control. But the Hawks battled back. A 12-0 run put them back on top, fueled by seven points from Kanacevic.
Kanacevic, however, later fouled out on a play 90 feet from the basket with 2:04 to go. That foul put Xavier at the line, where Justin Martin calmly sank both free throws to put the Musketeers back ahead.
The then lead changed hands a couple more times down the stretch and the Hawks had the ball down a point with 13.2 seconds left -- just enough time for one last play. To the surprise of no one, the ball was in Galloway's hands. He drove right and was fouled going up. Galloway stepped to the line and calmly sunk both free throws to make it 58-57 St. Joseph's with 1.4 seconds left.
Xavier's final attempt was almost good, as a full-court pass hit off the backboard and into the hands of Isaiah Philmore. He took one dribble and put up a shot that rimmed out as time expired.
With the loss, Xavier's quest for a ninth straight NCAA Tournament appearance is likely over. With a 17-14 record, the Musketeers await word on a possible NIT bid, while the Hawks advance to face VCU.
VCU defeated St. Joseph's 92-86 in overtime back on Jan. 17. In order for things to be different this time around, Martelli said that his team will need to do a better job preparing for the Rams' press.
"We're going to Times Square. We're going to run around and have them try not to get hit by a car," Martelli said, adding a touch of humor to his idea of how to get ready for a tough VCU defense.
The two teams will meet in the quarterfinals Friday night at 6:30 p.m.