By JAMES HILL
After Fordham cut a 22-point Saint Joseph’s lead all the way down to 10 early in the second half, Langston Galloway knew his team needed a lift. He delivered.
“We were struggling at the beginning of the second half, and I knew we needed a little boost,” the senior said. “I hit two in a row and got going a little bit.”
Galloway hit six straight three-pointers to blow the game wide open and put the Hawks up 29. Galloway finished with a school record 10 three-pointers and scored a career-high 33 points to pace Saint Joseph’s in an 87-72 win over Fordham.
“I thought he had a quick twitch, which I thought was very good,” Saint Joseph’s coach Phil Martelli said. “He got into his shot quickly…. When you work as hard as he works, you deserve some good things to happen. And certainly the ball went in the basket for him tonight.”
Saint Joseph’s jumped all over the Rams right from the opening tip, as they scored the first seven points of the game and never looked back in a wire-to-wire win.
DeAndre Bembry was the early catalyst, as he scored 13 points in the first 13 minutes of the game. But his afternoon was cut short by foul trouble, limiting what could have been a high scoring output.
He picked up his second foul with 7:13 to play in the first half and had four fouls with 11:25 to play. It was Bembry’s second straight game limited by foul trouble, as he sat out the final 15 minutes of the first half against Rhode Island on Wednesday.
“It’s a concern,” Martelli said. “We’re not going to play late in the Atlantic 10 Tournament if either Bembry or Halil [Kanacevic] are sitting on our bench. He’s played big minutes for a reason.
“We have to look at it and study it by tape. I think he stands up straight. His knees are not bent enough defensively.”
The Rams would not go away quietly. After the Hawks opened a 22-point first half lead, Fordham ran off a 15-3 run to cut it back to 10. Bryan Smith scored the final 10 points of that run for the Rams. Smith led Fordham with 28 points on the afternoon.
The two leading scorers for the Rams – Jon Severe and Branden Frazier – were shut down by the Hawk defense. Severe, who averages 19 per game, finished with 12 points for Fordham. Frazier scored only two points on the day, far below his 18 point per game average.
“On the other side of the ball, [Galloway] did a good job with Severe,” Martelli explained. “We gave him Severe and gave DeAndre Bembry Frazier.”
Out of the break, Fordham cut the Saint Joseph’s lead back to 10, which triggered a 15-1 run led by Galloway’s barrage. Galloway ended up making seven three-pointers in the second half on 10 attempts.
“It feels good,” he explained. “When your teammates are looking for you and want you to take every shot, it feels even better. That’s why I was smiling and having fun. I was just having fun.”
With Galloway firing away, the rest of the St. Joe’s offense was clicking. The Hawks shot 60 percent on the afternoon and made 15 three-pointers on 29 attempts.
Ronald Roberts tallied 13 points, and Halil Kanacevic finished with 10 for St. Joe’s. Chris Wilson added nine.
But the day belonged to the senior Galloway, who set another record and another career-high in his last campaign on Hawk Hill.
“Lang gets it,” Martelli said. “He’s a senior, and he has three left in this building. He wanted to leave people with a memory on this one.”
Postgame Press Conference: Phil Martelli
James Hill covers Saint Joseph’s basketball for Philahoops. Reach him at [email protected], on Twitter @jrhill17, or leave a comment below.