The top four teams earn first-round byes to the conference tournament and the next four host first-round games.
Five A-10 teams have fewer losses than the Hawks. St. Joseph's (16-10, 6-5 A-10) is among four other teams with at least five conference losses.
Not only was this Kanacevic's fourth consecutive double-figure rebounding effort, but his relentless work was infectious. This is Kanacevic's first season at St. Joseph's after sitting out last season following a 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 I felt we let ourselves down by losing that game so we regrouped and got ready for UMass," Kanacevic said.
Carl Jones scored a team-high 17 points, including 13 in the first half, when 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 (18-7, 7-4).
The Hawks pulled away after 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 a 47-37 advantage on the boards, another key for St. Joe was limiting UMass point guard Chaz Williams to 11 points on 5-for-14 shooting (0 for 4 from beyond the arc).
In UMass' 71-62 win over the visiting Hawks on Jan. 14, Williams, a teammate of Kanacevic's at Hofstra when both were freshmen in 2009-2010, had 22 points.
He had 10 assists and no turnovers, but Jones - with plenty of help - limited Williams' 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