In another game where the Hawks shot under 40% from the field, Saint Joseph’s was able to find their stride from the free throw line, helping them hold on to a 70-65 victory over Norfolk State at Hagan Arena in the first game of the Philly Hoop Group Classic.
The visiting Spartans had the upper hand for most of the first half, leading by as many as five points.
The Hawks began to make a run with 6:30 left in the first half when a Ronald Roberts Jr. dunk put the Hawks on top 22-21. This was the catalyst for a 6-0 run with all three baskets coming around the basket, as Idris Hilliard and Pat Swilling Jr. each converted layups.
Saint Joseph’s came into the second half up 28-24 and increased the lead to seven on their second possession of the half with C.J Aiken knocking down a three, giving the Hawks what would be their largest lead of a tightly contested game.
Over a one minute span, the Spartans would eat away at a 41-35 Hawks lead, eventually tying the game up with 11:28 left on the balance of a Pendarvis Williams dunk.
Todd O’Brien would score for the Hawks on their next two trips down the court, converting on a lay-up, then hitting one of two from the free throw line on the Hawks next possession.
After Norfolk State cut the margin to 48-46 with 6:23 remaining, the Hawks would score five unanswered points, with Hilliard hitting a jump shot assisted by Carl “Tay” Jones. Then after a Spartans turnover, Daryus Quarles knocked down his fourth three-pointer of the night to put the Hawks back up by seven, 53-46.
Down the stretch, Norfolk State extended the game by committing several fouls, choosing to put Jones on the line several times in the final minute. In the final 1:03 of the game, Jones was 8 of 8 from the line, showing an ability to shut out what was a sub-par 2 of 7 effort from the field.
The pesky Spartans refused to go away however, as Kyle O’Quinn scored three of his game high 23 points to reduce the deficit to 68-65 with eight seconds remaining.
After the three-pointer, the Spartans finally decided to deny Jones the ball, instead fouling freshman guard Langston Galloway.
Galloway with the moxie of a senior knocked down both free throws with ease, while the Spartans could only get off a desperation jumper as the buzzer sounded, giving the Hawks the 70-65 victory.
Quarles led the Hawks with 17 points, having the best game of his young career. He also knocked down four of his five three-point attempts in the victory. Jones was the only other Hawk in double-figures with 16 points, including going 11 of 12 from the free throw line.
O’Quinn led all scorers with 23 points and also brought down 13 rebounds for the Spartans in the loss. Rob Hampton added 19 points, while Williams finished with 10 points.
The Spartans shot better than the Hawks from the field, knocking down 43% of their shots compared to the Hawks 38%. However, the difference in the game came from the free throw line, where the Hawks were 22 of 27, while Norfolk State was just 10 of 17.
The Hawks were without Justin Crosgile, who was suspended for the game due to missing a class during the week.
Saint Joseph’s is next in action on Tuesday night, as they will travel to Bridgeport, CT to take on the Fairfield Stags in the second game of the Philly Hoop Group Classic. Tip-off is slated for 7:30 PM at the Harbor Yard.