FAIRFAX, Va. (AP) — The game may have been a high-scoring affair with both teams riding some hot shooting, but it was two late offensive rebounds that helped St. Joseph's seal an 84-80 win at George Mason on Saturday night.
With 2:42 remaining and the Hawks clinging to a 74-69 lead, offensive rebounds by Halil Kanacevic and DeAndre' Bembry enabled St. Joseph's to keep possession for 1:22, culminating with a driving layup by Kanacevic that put the game out of reach.
The extended possession was, as George Mason coach Paul Hewitt said, "a backbreaker."
"It was a really big deal," St. Joseph's coach Phil Martelli said. "If you extend that out, you end up like a power play in hockey, you have the ball for a minute and 30 seconds. And basically, we were in a position where we were playing a three-minute game. So half of that three minutes, we had the ball."
Kanacevic scored 23 points and Langston Galloway added 20 to lead the Hawks (10-5, 1-1 Atlantic-10) to their sixth win in seven games. Jalen Jenkins and Bryon Allen each scored 20 points for George Mason (7-9, 0-2), which has dropped seven of its last nine.
Kanacevic hit 9-of-15 shots and St. Joseph's shot 59 percent from the field. Galloway added six rebounds, three assists and two steals while reaching double-figures in points for the 11th consecutive game. Bembry scored 17 points and Papa Ndao had 13 for the Hawks.
The Patriots took a 45-40 lead at halftime on the strength of seven 3-pointers, and finished the game shooting 11 of 23 from behind the arc. But St. Joseph's went on an 11-2 run to take command early in the second half.
"Obviously, we didn't defend the way we are capable of, and they shot the ball really well," Hewitt said. "They shot the ball at a 60-percent clip. I don't care what kind of shots you're taking, when people shoot 60 percent you're not going to give yourself a chance to win."
St. Joseph's second-leading scorer, Ronald Roberts, Jr., did not play after suffering a back injury in the Hawks' 66-62 loss to No. 19 Massachusetts on Wednesday.