ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. -- While some people may have buried Saint Joseph's basketball season, the Hawks are refusing to die.
Carl Jones scored 28 points and Saint Joseph's kept its season alive by posting a 93-90 overtime victory over fourth-seeded Duquesne in the quarterfinals of the Atlantic 10 Conference tournament on Friday.The victory was the third straight in a must-win game for the 12th-seeded Hawks (11-21) and it advanced them to the semifinal on Saturday against Dayton (21-12). The ninth-seeded Flyers stunned top-seeded and No. 18 Xavier 68-67 in the opening game at Boardwalk Hall."It is true the Hawk will never die," coach Phil Martelli said after collecting his 300th career win. "We were wounded and on our last breath, somewhat. We were circling. We were circling and we couldn't soar."The last three games, though, Saint Joseph's has found a way to win. It went to Charlotte for the final game of the regular season and posted a one-point victory to make the tournament. An overtime win at George Washington on Tuesday got it to this casino resort, and now the Hawks are in the conference semifinals for the first time since 2008.Not bad for a team that saw students from Philadelphia-rival Temple hold a mock funeral for the Hawk."This team is more about confidence now," said Jones, who hit a go-ahead layup in the overtime and two late free throws to push the lead to three points. "It's about knowing we can win, as opposed to thinking we can win."Duquesne (18-12) had a chance to tie the game, but a 3-pointer by T.J. McConnell hit off the front of the rim and Saint Joseph's got the rebound as the final horn sounded."At the end of the day, maybe we got beat by the better team today," said Duquesne coach Ron Everhart, whose team has seen a promising season slip away with seven losses in nine games.Saint Joseph's forced the overtime, getting a dunk from Ronald Roberts with 1.5 seconds to play off a great feed from Charoy Bentley, who seemingly had nowhere to go with the clock winding down and the ball on the right edge of the key.Jones' layup in overtime gave the Hawks an 83-81 lead, but he was also called for a charge on the play, sending Bill Clark to the free-throw line for two shots. He made one and Saint Joseph's quickly took advantage.Langston Galloway drove the lane for a basket and Bentley stole the inbounds pass and eventually made a 3-pointer for an 88-82 lead.Duquesne twice closed the gap to two points, and eventually got within one when Damian Saunders hit a layup with 9.3 seconds to go.Jones made his free throws a second later and Duquesne could not hit the game-tying basket.Roberts added 19 points for Saint Joseph's and Idris Hilliard had 18."We just feel we're getting better every day and it shows now," Hilliard said.Saunders and Clark had 21 points apiece for Duquesne. Sean Johnson added 18 and McConnell had 15."We just didn't execute on the defensive end today," Saunders said.