"We have an older group," Kanacevic said. "They understood we didn't have a great half. We didn't play great defense. We were actually getting good shots, but they weren't falling. Our thing was, if it's not going to fall tonight, we have to get stops at the other end."
That's exactly what happened, as the Hawks (18-7, 8-3) held the Rams (11-16, 2-10) to 31.8 percent shooting (7-22) in the second half.
Ron Roberts paced the Hawks with 18 points, while DeAndre' Bembry and Kanacevic each scored 12.
E.C. Matthews, who torched Duquesne for 32 points Saturday, led Rhode Island with 17 points.
St. Joe's "compete was terrific even in the first half," Hawks coach Phil Martelli said. "I told them at halftime the class of shots we had was fine. But we stopped focusing on a play at a time. We were wandering around a little bit.
"We didn't quite stay with the game plan," he added. "Credit to Rhode Island. [Coach] Danny [Hurley], after the Duquesne game, demanded that they compete, and they certainly competed."
After the Hawks pulled within a point at 22-21 on a three-point play by Roberts, the Rams went on an 11-4 run for a 33-25 lead at intermission.
Jarelle Reischel keyed the run with a driving layup and a three-point shot with 17 seconds left in the half.
The fact that St. Joseph's trailed by only eight points was noteworthy, because Rhode Island held the Hawks' leading scorer, Langston Galloway, to zero points.
In fact, Galloway didn't notch his first basket until 11:24 remained, when he scored off a turnover. He finished with six points.
Rhode Island has lost six straight.