- Associated Press - Friday, March 21, 2014

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) - Senior guard Langston Galloway was upset at the chance he missed to win the game in the final minute of regulation. Senior forward Halil Kanacevic sat helpless on the bench after fouling out early into overtime.

Saint Joseph’s splendid run to the NCAA tournament ended with a whimper in the second round on Thursday, when the Hawks eventually were worn down by a much-deeper Connecticut opponent. Shabazz Napier scored nine of his 24 points in the extra frame to secure UConn’s 89-81 win over the East Region’s 10th-seeded Hawks (24-10).

“Sometimes in life you don’t get really what you want,” Saint Joe’s coach Phil Martelli said. “I don’t know why, but if anybody deserved to keep playing, these guys certainly did.”

Galloway scored 25 points, to up his career total to 1,991 and move ahead of Bernard Blunt into second place on the school list. Freshman DeAndre Bembry scored 16, senior Ronald Roberts scored 15 and added 10 rebounds, while Kanacevic finished with 12 points and seven rebounds.

The Hawks’ short bench eventually caught up to them as Martelli leaned on his five starters, who all finished with 40-plus minutes of playing time.

The game turned in the final minute of regulation, after Hawks guard Chris Wilson hit two free throws to put Saint Joe’s up 70-67 with 49.2 seconds left.

Napier missed on a drive at the other end, but freshman center Amida Brimah got the rebound to the left of the basket, and was fouled while putting it back. He tied the game by hitting the free throw.

Taking over with 39 seconds left, the Hawks never got a shot off on what became their final possession of regulation.

Galloway twice lost the ball on the dribble, but got it back both times, before launching a desperation shot that hit off the side of the backboard as the shot clock expired.

“We were right there,” Galloway said. “I wanted to go out with the ball in my hands. It’s a tough play. I hit the side of the backboard. I’m upset with myself for not getting a better quality shot.”

The next blow came with 3:47 left in overtime, when Kanacevic fouled out while attempting to stop DeAndre Daniels from driving the lane. Daniels still managed to hit the shot from six feet, and then drained the free throw to put UConn ahead 73-70.

“I definitely didn’t want to go out like that,” Kanacevic said. “I feel bad, but I tried to stay in the game with the guys. There’s nothing you can do at that point.”

The loss didn’t change Martelli’s views of a team that he counts among his best during his 19 seasons at Saint Joe’s.

“We came in here as champions, and we’re going to leave that locker room tonight (as champions),” Martelli said, referring to a team that won three straight to clinch the Atlantic 10 Conference tournament title last weekend. “If this is the hardest thing they face, they’ve lived a blessed life.”

Daniels scored 18 points for Connecticut (27-8), which won in coach Kevin Ollie’s tournament debut since taking over after Jim Calhoun stepped down for health reasons two years ago. And it came a year after Connecticut was barred from postseason play because of academic sanctions.

With the game tied at 70 entering overtime, Daniels opened the scoring by completing a three-point play with 3:47 left during a 5-minute period the Huskies never trailed. Napier then scored seven straight points - five of them coming from the line - to put the Huskies up 82-74 with 55 seconds remaining.

After hitting 13 of their first 20 baskets, the Hawks offense cooled. Saint Joe’s went 10 of 22 in the second half, and finished the game going 27 of 54.

The Huskies were coming off a 71-61 loss to Louisville in the American Athletic Conference title game on Saturday. They’ve now won 10 of their past three, with two of those losses coming against Louisville.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

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