Saint Joseph's

St. Joe's can't quite pull off upset in Atlantic 10 semis

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St. Joe's can't quite pull off upset in Atlantic 10 semis

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WASHINGTON — Andre Berry scored 18 points, Fatts Russell made two crucial 3-pointers in the final six minutes and No. 25 Rhode Island rallied past Saint Joseph's 90-87 on Saturday in the Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament semifinals.

The Rams (25-6) are the first No. 1 seed in the Atlantic 10 to reach the conference championship game since Saint Louis in 2013.

Jeff Dowtin added 16 points and 10 assists for Rhode Island, Russell scored 14 points and E.C. Matthews had 11 of his 14 points in the second half for the defending tournament champions.

Shavar Newkirk had 18 points, eight rebounds and six assists for the fourth-seeded Hawks (16-16), who drubbed Rhode Island 78-48 last week. Saint Joseph's appeared poised to deliver another upset while trying to extend its season, building an 11-point lead early in the second half.

Cyril Langevine gave Rhode Island its first lead at 73-71 when he completed a 3-point play with 6:16 remaining. After Newkirk tied it with a basket on the next possession, Russell connected on a 3 to give the Rams the lead for good.

Russell had another 3 with 4:29 to go, and Jared Terrell added a 3 off an offensive rebound and kickout on the Rams' next possession to make it 82-75. The Hawks never cut the deficit to fewer than two and missed out on a chance to tie when Taylor Funk traveled near midcourt with 0.5 seconds left.

Big Picture
Rhode Island: After dropping three of their last five regular-season games, the Rams manufactured tight victories over VCU and Saint Joseph's to reach their second consecutive Atlantic 10 title game.

Saint Joseph's: The Hawks won seven of eight before Saturday's loss and started only one senior in the conference tournament. They're poised to contend in the Atlantic 10 again next season.

Up Next 
Rhode Island: The Rams will meet either second-seeded St. Bonaventure or third-seeded Davidson in Sunday's title game. Rhode Island managed a season split with both teams.

Saint Joseph's: The Hawks' season is likely finished.

St. Joe's steamrolls George Mason in A-10 tourney

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St. Joe's steamrolls George Mason in A-10 tourney

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WASHINGTON -- Nick Robinson led a balanced attack with 14 points, Taylor Funk had a double-double and fourth-seeded Saint Joseph's pulled away for a 68-49 win over fifth-seeded George Mason on Friday in the quarterfinals of the Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament.

Funk had 12 points and 10 rebounds, James Demery had 12 points off the bench and Shavar Newkirk added 13 points for the Hawks (16-15), who face top-seeded and 25th ranked Rhode Island in the semifinals.

Saint Joseph's worked a 26-25 halftime lead up to 16 points midway through the second half but the Patriots (16-17), who swept the regulation-season series by a total of five points, had a 9-0 run to get within single digits with five minutes to go. In the last four minutes the Hawks were 9 of 10 from the foul line, closing with a 16-6 run.

Jaire Grayer had 12 points and 13 rebounds for George Mason, which went 2 of 25 from distance and shot less than 30 percent overall.

St. Joe's does this for 1st time in 39 years

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St. Joe's does this for 1st time in 39 years

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KINGSTON, R.I. -- The party was four nights ago -- when Rhode Island celebrated its first outright Atlantic 10 title in school history.

One game later, it was completely wiped away by a miserable performance.

James Demery scored 21 points, Taylor Funk had 17 and Saint Joseph's stunned No. 17 Rhode Island 78-48 on Tuesday night.

"The other night with the ceremony, I think that we maybe for a couple of days were taking victory laps," URI coach Dan Hurley said. "You can't do that. You can't do that in sports, especially when you have a ranking next to your name -- with people coming at you hard."

Shavar Newkirk added 14 points for the Hawks (14-15, 9-8 A 10), who posted their first true road victory over a ranked team since beating No. 15 Georgetown on Jan. 2, 1979.

Jared Terrell scored 19 points with seven rebounds and E.C. Matthews had 13 points for Rhode Island (23-5, 15-2). It was the Rams' second loss in four games after a school record 16-game winning streak.

"We've got to take responsibility," Matthews said. "This could be a good lesson that we've got to go about it the right way."

URI shot just 28.1 percent in the game.

Taking their home court again for the first time after they clinched their first outright A-10 title in school history and edged up a spot in this week's AP poll, the Rams came out ice cold from the field, missing 25 of their 31 shots in the opening half.

"I did not have these guys emotionally ready to play on Senior Night and that's on me," Hurley said. "It was an epically bad shooting performance."

Saint Joseph's led 35-16 at halftime.

The Hawks came into the night ranked 313th in the nation in 3-point field goal percentage at just 32 percent, but they hit their first four and opened a 13-point lead just before the second media timeout. URI went 4 for 24 from the field in the opening 14 minutes.

Saint Joseph's closed the half by scoring nine of the final 11 points.

Playing mostly zone, the Hawks seemed to keep the Rams from getting into any offensive rhythm. URI's many missed shots didn't help either.

"I'll be honest with you -- I feel for Danny and Rhode Island," Hawks coach Phil Martelli said. "We've been the top dog in this league -- twice in 2014 and 2016 and we lost on Senior Day to a team that really man-for-man couldn't measure up."

Saint Joseph's scored eight of the initial 11 points in the second half, pulling to a 43-19 lead on Chris Clover's driving basket with 16:17 to play. They pushed it to 54-21 on Demery's fastbreak jam after the Hawks outhustled URI to a loose ball at midcourt.

On Friday night, the Ryan Center was rocking and filled with blue and white - the school's colors - confetti and streamers and they were cutting down a net, but the Rams were unable to find any success offensively in the second half, too, spoiling their bid for a perfect 16-0 record at home this season.

Big picture
Saint Joseph's: For a school looking for any type of postseason tournament berth, the Hawks needed a resume-builder and a solid run at the conference tourney next week. This was the first step.

Rhode Island: The Rams were trending upward for a solid seed in their probable NCAA tourney invitation, but this loss may hurt their national recognition.

Watch and learn
Hurley said they'll watch the film of the loss.

"We'll watch this tomorrow and we're going to own it as players and coaches," he said.

Emotional night
Hurley wiped away tears during Senior Night festivities.

Three of the seniors honored -- Matthews, Terrell and Jarvis Garrett -- can set the school mark for most wins in a four-year span with three more victories.

In 2011, Marquise Jones, Will Martell, Ben Eaves and Delroy James completed their collegiate careers with 90 victories.

Two other seniors, Stanford Robinson and Andre Berry -- both transfers -- also played their final home game.

Up next
Saint Joseph's: Closes its regular season at home Saturday against La Salle.

Rhode Island: Plays its regular season finale at Davidson on Friday.