St. Joseph's escapes in Atlantic Ten opener

St. Joe's ( 10 ) Langston Galloway reacts to a 58-57 last second comeback win over Xavier at the Barclay Center, Brooklyn, NY March 14, 2013. (David Swanson/Staff Photographer)
St. Joe's ( 10 ) Langston Galloway reacts to a 58-57 last second comeback win over Xavier at the Barclay Center, Brooklyn, NY March 14, 2013. (David Swanson/Staff Photographer)
Posted: March 16, 2013

NEW YORK - St Joseph's guard Langston Galloway put his head down and with a small opening made one burst through a slew of bodies. And for the next 1.4 seconds of basketball time, a season was saved after the Hawks survived the most bizarre circumstances.

St. Joseph's kept its faint NCAA hopes alive after a free throw that seemed to take forever to go in, and a length-of-the-court pass that almost became the most famous assist in basketball.

The 10th-seeded Hawks defeated No. 7 Xavier, 58-57, Thursday night in an Atlantic Ten tournament classic at the Barclays Center.

St. Joseph's earned the chance to meet second seed Virginia Commonwealth in the quarterfinals Friday at 6:30 p.m. The Hawks (18-12) probably need to win the A-10 title to earn a berth in the NCAA tournament. At least they earned another game.

"We didn't want the season to end," Galloway said.

It almost did. Xavier (17-14) missed converting a length-of-the-court pass when Isaiah Philmore missed a layup at the buzzer.

The Hawks fought off a 10-0 run that left them down by eight points with 12 minutes, 30 seconds left in the second half.

Trailing by 41-33, St. Joseph's suddenly showed fire and a renewed sense of purpose.

The Hawks stormed back, taking the lead at 45-44 on a three-pointer by Halil Kanacevic with 8:40 left. From there it remained close.

And then came the final 1.4 seconds.

Galloway was fouled driving to the basket by Semaj Christon, the A-10's rookie of the year.

"It was a legit foul, and I have no complaint; it's the right call," Xavier coach Chris Mack said. "I wish we had the toughness to step in and take a charge."

The first free throw wasn't the smoothest by Galloway. It rattled the rim but finally went in, tying the score at 57. After a Xavier timeout in an attempt to ice Galloway, he hit nothing but net for a 58-57 lead.

Xavier needed a miracle, having to inbound under the basket. Then again, divine intervention could have played into the Hawks' fortunes.

"With two Jesuit schools, I did leave a ticket for Pope Francis," St. Joseph's coach Phil Martelli quipped. "I wish him well."

On the final play, Xavier's Justin Martin, threw a long inbounds pass that bounced off the backboard right into the hands of Philmore, who missed his chance. The Hawks had escaped.

Galloway led the Hawks with 14 points, but equally important was the defensive job he did on Christon, who had 10 points but shot 3 for 14.


Contact Marc Narducci at mnarducci@phillynews.com. Follow @sjnard on Twitter.

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