Loose balls. Loose officiating. Loose perimeter D. Loose teeth.
The semifinals of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic on Friday night had it all.
Langston Galloway had a tooth knocked out midway through the second half, returned to the floor moments later to help force overtime and the Hawks took control from there. Saint Joseph’s finished off a late second half comeback, thanks in part to a Galloway layup with less than two minutes remaining to even up the score, outlasting the Fighting Irish in the extra session 79-70 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Galloway sunk a pair of free throws with three minutes left in regulation to pull the Hawks within four. His equalizer—a reverse, baseline up-and-under with 1:55 showing on the game clock—was ultimately the shot that pushed the game to overtime.
Saint Joseph’s got no scoring from its bench in regulation or overtime. And given how promptly Galloway returned to the game after a vicious face-plant into the Barclays Center floor, the Hawks didn’t need any.
The junior guard finished with 13 points, three rebounds, two assists and no turnovers in 44 minutes of action—missing all but one minute of the game despite losing one of his incisor teeth. In all, Hawks reserves saw the floor for just 11 minutes. They spent most of their time on the bench watching Ronald Roberts Jr. and Halil Kanacevic swank their games.
Roberts was far and away the game’s most dominant player. The junior forward, whom Busting Brackets predicted would be one of the top breakout players in the A-10 before the start of the season, tallied 21 points (11 from the free throw line), 16 rebounds (9 offensive) and held Notre Dame star Jack Cooley in check. Roberts was a one-man wrecking crew on the boards, and his activeness inside forced Cooley—the Big East’s leading rebounder last year—into foul trouble all night (he later fouled out).
Kanacevic, meanwhile, had his outside touch working and his underrated court vision on full display. The Staten Island native flashed a little bit of everything in his return to New York City. He finished with 15 points (3-5 from behind the arc), eight rebounds, six assists, three blocks and three steals. Kanacevic’s outside shooting barrage in the first half got the partisan Saint Joseph’s crowd going early, and his stellar passing kept the fans on their feet for the rest of the game.
Saint Joseph’s played once again without top returning scorer Carl Jones, who served the second of his three-game suspension for violating the university’s community standards. If it wasn’t clear how good the Hawks can be from the team’s impressive showing without Jones, it will be when he returns to the lineup on Tuesday versus Harvard.
Saint Joseph’s has a roster good enough to make the Final Four.