Not only was this Kanacevic's fourth consecutive double-figure rebounding effort, but his relentless work was infectious to his teammates. This is Kanacevic's first season at St. Joseph's after sitting out last season following his transfer from Hofstra.
"Rebounding was a problem for us the last two years and you hate to say one guy, but one guy has made the different in the mental approach to rebounding," St. Joseph's coach Phil Martelli said, referring to the 6-foot-8 Kanacevic.
The Hawks were coming off a 72-60 home loss to St. Louis, which Kanacevic used as motivation.
"We kind of took a hit on the St. Louis game. That was a big game and felt we let ourselves down by losing that game so we regrouped and got ready for UMass," Kanacevic said.
St. Joseph's received a team-high 17 points from Carl Jones, including 13 in the first half in which the Hawks held a 29-28 lead. Langston Galloway scored 15 points, Ron Roberts had 14 points and eight rebounds, and C.J. Aiken added 13 points.
Sophomore guard Jesse Morgan, a graduate of Olney High, had 18 for UMass.
The Hawks pulled away following a 14-0 second-half run. The run ended when Galloway hit a 15-foot jumper to extend the lead to 46-32 with 12:32 left in the game.
Besides owning a 47-37 advantage on the boards, another key was limiting the scoring of UMass point guard Chaz Williams, who had 11 points and shot 5 for 14, including 0 for 4 from beyond the arc.
In UMass' 71-62 win over the visiting Hawks on Jan. 14, Williams, who was a teammate of Kanacevic's at Hofstra when both were freshmen in 2009-2010, had 22 points.
During Saturday's loss he did have 10 assists and no turnovers, but Jones, with plenty of help defense, limited his scoring.
"St. Joe did a nice job of packing the lane and making us shoot over their big guys," UMass coach Derek Kellogg said. "Chaz didn't get out in transition as much and didn't finish the way he usually does."
Contact staff writer Marc Narducci at firstname.lastname@example.org, 856-779-3225 or @sjnard on Twitter. Find the St. Joseph's blog at www.philly.com/hawkhill