Underdog Hawks own win over first-round A-10 opponent

Tenth-seeded Saint Joseph’s will meet seventh-seeded Xavier in their Atlantic 10 opening-round game. (Steve Helber/AP)

St. Joseph’s won’t be favored in its opening Atlantic-10 tournament game with Xavier, but winning won’t be impossible, especially since it already occurred once.

Too bad for the Hawks sake, the A-10 tourney isn’t being played at Hagan Arena.

No. 10 seeded St. Joseph’s (17-12, 8-8 A-10) will meet seventh seeded Xavier (17-13, 9-7) in Thursday’s 6:30 p.m. A-10 opening round game at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

On Jan. 26 the Hawks scored a 59-49 win over Xavier at Hagan Arena.

That was the game in which Langston Galloway hit two late three-pointers and St Joseph’s scored the final 12 points.

This is a dangerous Xavier team (although one could say that about virtually any team in the field). Xavier just beat No. 1 A-10 seed St. Louis, before losing its final regular season game to Butler.

St. Joseph’s will have to contain freshman guard Semaj Christon, the likely A-10 rookie of the year who is averaging 15.4 points, but averaged 17.0 in A-10 games.

He had 16 points in the loss to the Hawks, but shot just 8 for 21 from the field and had two assists and three turnovers.

If the Hawks can have that type of game against him again, they stand a good chance of winning.

Of course, one has to wonder where St. Joseph’s confidence will be following a season-ending 52-40 loss at Charlotte.

That was by far the lowest scoring effort of the season. The second lowest total came in an 80-51 defeat at Creighton.

The Hawks need to win four games in order to earn an NCAA berth because anything short of winning the A-10 title won’t likely get it done.

This season St. Joseph’s has never won more than three consecutive games, so the task is truly daunting. The Hawks first priority is to get back their confidence offensively.

Here is the Hawks point totals the last four games – 53, 82, 81, 40.

This typifies the inconsistent season, and as the Hawks know better than anybody, they are running out of chances to try to smooth things out.