The Hawk is Dead! Villanova Beats SJU 65-61

Villanova Wildcats guard James Bell (32) hits the game winning shot during the second half against the Saint Joseph's Hawks at the Pavilion. Villanova defeated Saint Joseph's 65-61. - Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Coming off of a win against Penn, Villanova hosted the high flying Saint Joseph's Hawks in a game for the ages, gaining a win they badly needed.

James Bell drilled a corner three with 30 seconds left to put Villanova up 2 en route to a close Big 5 win against the Saint Joes Hawks.

“It’s a big feeling, but as coach always says, can’t get too high with the highs or too low with the lows,” James Bell said. “We had to get a stop on the other end and I was worried about getting back.”

Bell and Jayvaughn Pinkston scored a team high 12 points each, with bell collecting 5 rebounds as well.

The game was neck and neck all the way until Halil Kavacevic gestured what many believe to be a middle finger toward the Nova student section after draining a 3 pointer to put St. Joes up 53-50.

Kavacevic must have never heard the phrase “Don’t awaken a sleeping giant.”

From that point on, the student section and wine and cheese crowd alike turned up the volume in the Pavilion to a level not heard since the 2009-2010 season. Kavacevic especially had boo’s reign down upon him any time he touched the ball.

Neither coach seemed to see the gesture, but Hawks head coach Phil Martelli reprimanded his team for its actions.

“I just told the whole team we acted immaturely at times,” Martelli said.

Langston Galloway had an especially strong game and found his stroke from beyond the arc, hitting 6 of 10 three pointers and finishing with a game high 22 points.

Saint Joe’s has been touted as the class of the Big 5, but the team turned the ball over too many times (18) and didn’t execute down the stretch in front of the hostile and riled up Villanova crowd.

If Kavacevic didn’t believe in karma before tonight’s game, he sure believes it now.

With 3 seconds left, Kavacevic inbounded the ball towards the baseline, with Maurice Sutton guarding the inbounds pass. Trying to get a fresh 5 second count, Kavacevic threw the ball off of Sutton’s legs, but the ball bounced off of Sutton and right back to Kavacevic’s thigh, Villanova ball. James Bell was fouled, made both free throws, and the game was sealed.

Most of the Hawk’s scoring came from three players, Galloway, Carl Jones, and Ronald Roberts. Villanova had a healthy distribution of points amongst 7 players.

Odds and Ends: With Hilliard diving into the stands in the final moments of the game, Ryan Arch came over to help him up saying, “You’re fine, you’re good,” over and over…Ochefu is going to be a monster for Villanova in the future on the defensive end and on the boards. Maybe offense will come, but he attacks the boards and plays with as much hustle as anyone….Ash Yacoubu had a second solid game in a row, and should see more playing time. He has the length to be a solid combo guard and he attacks the glass, racking up 7 rebounds tonight.

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