Saint Joseph’s shot 57 percent from the field and knocked down 11 three-pointers as the Hawks won a fast-paced game over Iona 96-91 on Friday evening from Hagan Arena.
Coming off of a game where he was held without a field goal for only the second time in his career, Carl Jones had his best game of the season, scoring a 32 season-high points and canning four three-pointers while shooting 12-of-19 from the field in an exciting game with several lead changes.
Jones and his Saint Joseph’s (6-4) teammates looked quite comfortable going up against Iona’s lackadaisical defense. Iona’s offensive pace and energy seemed to bring out the best in the Hawks.
Iona (6-6) led the majority of the first half, with Sean Armand hitting three-pointers on three consecutive possessions at one point for the Gaels.
Ronald Roberts committed two early fouls in the first half, which took away one of the Hawks main inside presences. With Halil Kanacevic suspended, C.J. Aiken was often joined in the front-court by bench players Papa Ndao and Daryus Quarles during the first half. Iona’s David Laury, playing only his third game at the Division I level, took full advantage of Roberts being in foul trouble as he netted 12 points while bringing down 9 rebounds in the 1st half as Iona took a 47-45 lead into the locker room.
“The first half was all about their offensive rebound baskets,” Saint Joseph’s coach Phil Martelli said of the Gaels 16 second-chance points during the opening 20 minutes.
Saint Joseph’s trailed for less than 30 seconds in the second half, with Aiken, who scored a career-high 22 points in the win, knocking down a three-pointer to put the Hawks up 48-47 early in the second half. Although the Gaels would tie the game up a couple of times in the next minute, the Hawks would eventually take control of the game.
The Hawks went on an 8-0 run with Jones, Roberts, and Langston Galloway contributing to the spurt which gave Saint Joseph’s a 64-56 lead with 14:09 to play.
Iona kept the game close in the late stages, with Armand and Lamont “Momo” Jones consistently hitting shots to keep the Gaels in the game. Armand hit five three-pointers in the game while Jones led Iona with 25 points in the close contest.
Saint Joseph’s hit all six of its free throws during the final minute of the game with Aiken knocking down four of them while Galloway made two shots late from the charity stripe to allow the Hawks to seal the victory. Galloway scored 23 points for Saint Joseph’s in the victory.
Laury netted a double-double with 21 points and 14 rebounds with 9 of his boards corralled on the offensive glass during the game for Iona in a losing effort.
Saint Joseph’s will close out 2012 on Monday afternoon as they will take on the disappointing Drexel Dragons on New Year’s Eve at the Daskalaskis Athletic Center on the campus of Drexel University at 4 p.m.
Martelli knows that it will be a much different style of game for his Hawks against their City 6 rival. “Against Drexel you need to be able to run offense,” Martelli commented when asked about what areas he is looking for his team to improve in before the start of conference play, “We haven’t run offense and that’s my fault.”