Freshman Langston Galloway tied his career high of 27 points with the go ahead free throw with 4.1 seconds remaining to give the Saint Joseph's Hawks a 71-70 victory over the Charlotte 49ers in Halton Arena Saturday.
With the loss, the Niners (10-20, 2-14) season of misery officially came to an end as the Hawks advance to the Atlantic 10 Tournament next week. In a way, it was a fitting end to the Niners oddity of a season. The Hawks, who came in to Saturday's contest ranked 10th in 3-pt field goal percentage, hit 11 of 19 from distance in route to the victory. The Niners had entered the game as the ninth best team in the nation in 3-pt field goal percentage defense.
However, it was the Niners who started hot as they raced out to a 7-2 lead after a 3-pointer from junior Javarris Barnett.
The Hawks quickly answered with six straight and took an 8-7 lead on a 3-pointer by Galloway.
There would be six more lead changes in the first half with the last coming on a 3-pointer at the halftime buzzer from Galloway to give the Hawks a 35-33 lead.
Galloway's 3-pointer capped a 7-0 run for the Hawks.
Not known for their outside shooting, the Hawks made six of 10 3-pointers in the first half. The entered the game shooting 32 percent from beyond the arc, which ranked 10th in the Atlantic 10.
Carl Jones and Galloway kept the run going as the second half began with five quick points to increase the Hawk lead to seven.
Daryus Quarles' jump shot gave the Hawks a 48-40 advantage with 16:11 to play.
The Niners rallied with seven straight points capped by a jumper from
Jamar Briscoe to get within one with 13:01 to play.
Briscoe, who missed Wednesday's game against Xavier, didn't play in the first half due to what he described as a strained back.
The Hawks took a 56-51 lead with 8:17 to play only to have the Niners tie it just under two minutes later.
Jones' layup with 5:17 to play gave the Hawks a 60-56 lead. Briscoe answered with back to back 3-pointers to give the Niners a 62-60 lead with 4:25 to play in the game.
Derrio Green's layup with 1:47 to play tied the game at 64. On the ensuing possession, Galloway buried a 3-pointer with Green draped all over him. Green was called for the foul and Galloway converted the 4-pt play with 1:20 to play.
"Derrio contested it great," said Niners Head Coach Alan Major.
Trailing by three with 31.9 to play Green tied the game at 70 on an off balance 3-pointer on the baseline with 10.3 seconds left. Galloway raced the ball up the court and was fouled by Green. He hit the first free throw and missed the second and Green's prayer at the buzzer banked off the backboard.
Galloway scored 18 of his game high 27 points in the second half. Jones added 19 while Idris Hilliard added 10 for the Hawks. The Hawks shot 47.9% from the field for the game.
"Throw the youth part out the window," said Major of the Hawks younger players. "Those guys aren't freshman anymore."
Braswell led the Niners with 16 points and 10 rebounds, while Barnett added 11 and Briscoe contributed 10 off the bench in the second half.
--This is the second time in the last three seasons that the Niners have lost more than 20 games.
--This is also the second time in three years that the Hawks have ended the Niners season. The last time was in the 2009 Atlantic 10 Tournament.