St. Joe's loses to Richmond, in danger of not making A-10 tournament

Fighting for a berth in next week's Atlantic Ten Conference basketball tournament, St. Joseph's entered the second half Wednesday at Hagan Arena down by one point to a Richmond squad that was out to clinch a first-round bye.

But in a two-minute stretch after the break, the Hawks let the game get away. They wound up with a 69-54 defeat.

St. Joe's (8-21, 3-12 A-10) is running neck-and-neck with Charlotte for a berth in the tournament. On Saturday, the Hawks visit the 49ers in the last regular-season game for both teams.

The bottom two teams in the A-10 standings get left out of the postseason, which means the loser of St. Joe's-Charlotte will join Fordham on the outside looking in. Charlotte lost to first-place Xavier on Wednesday.

With just over 10 minutes left to play against Richmond, the Hawks were behind, 40-39. With about eight minutes remaining, the Hawks' deficit was 50-40.

A three-point jumper by Spiders forward Justin Harper increased what was a five-point lead for his team, and when Harper scored again on a putback, Richmond had that 10-point advantage and St. Joe's was headed for the loss.

St. Joe's went 19 for 51 from the floor while Richmond made 25 of its 60 attempts. The visitors were good on 7 of 16 three-point shots, however, while the Hawks had the same number of tries and connected on only three.

Richmond's Kevin Anderson, a 6-foot guard who was the league's player of the year last season, led all scorers with 22 points and also had a game-high six assists. For St. Joe's, guard Carl Jones topped the list with 18 points. Forward Ronald Roberts also was in double figures with 10.

On senior night, St. Joe's paid tribute to reserve guard Charoy Bentley and forward Idris Hilliard, a program mainstay who made 89 career starts and played in 123 games as a Hawk. In their final home games, Hilliard had six points and two rebounds, and Bentley hit a free throw.

When Hilliard was replaced with less than a minute to go, he received an ovation from the Hawks faithful.

Richmond (23-7, 12-3), which is coached by former Princeton star Chris Mooney, will not have to play when the A-10 tournament begins on Tuesday.

Anderson assisted on each of Richmond's first four baskets as the Spiders got out to a 9-2 lead. But with less than four minutes left in the first half, the score was knotted at 17.

A three-point jumper by Richmond's Darien Brothers snapped the tie, and St. Joe's closed out the pre-intermission scoring with free throws from guards Langston Galloway and Jones. Both missed on their second attempts, and St. Joe's left the court at the break trailing by 20-19.

The Spiders shot only 29 percent from the floor during the first 20 minutes and St. Joe's connected on just 36 percent of its 22 field-goal attempts.

 


Contact staff writer Kevin Tatum at 215-854-2583 or ktatum@phillynews.com.