CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — Saint Joseph’s Carl Jones even surprised himself at the end of the Hawks victory over Tulsa at the Charleston Classic on Sunday night.
Jones, the Hawks’ high-scoring guard, scored his team’s final eight points in a 79-75 victory that earned them third place in the eight-team Charleston Classic. His final two buckets, both with the Hawks (3-1) clinging to a two-point lead, came over Tulsa center Steven Idlet, at 6-foot-11 a full foot taller than Jones.
“Those shots even surprised myself,” Jones said as his teammates chuckled behind him in Saint Joseph’s locker room.
Jones looked like he’d lose the matchup at the basket, but sent floaters high off the glass to keep the Hawks in front.
“I tried to go layup but the big dude came at me,” Jones said, “So I just did what I had to do.”
It’s what Jones has done all tournament long.
He had 21 points in Saint Joseph’s opening round win here over Georgia Tech, then set a tournament record with 38 points in a loss to Seton Hall that dropped the Hawks into the third place game.
Jones started slowly, in part held to six first-half points by Tulsa’s bigger guards Jordan Clarkson and Tim Peete, both 6-4. But Jones, a junior, wasn’t going to be kept out of the action and took the game to Tulsa after the break. Jones had a 3-pointer to tie things at 55-all.
The Hawks took the lead for good, 65-64, on Ronald Roberts’ two foul shots that were part of his personal run of 10 straight points as Saint Joseph’s took a 69-64 lead with 5:33 remaining.
Scottie Haralson, a freshman on UConn’s 2009 Final Four team, brought the Golden Hurricane (3-2) within a point with his basket, but Saint Joseph’s C.J. Aiken followed a miss by Langston Galloway with a high-flying jam.
That’s when Jones took over.
His first basket made it 73-68. After Idlet scored, Jones went right at Tulsa’s senior, falling away and landing the ball high off the glass and through the hoop to restore the five-point lead.
Haralson hit his sixth and final 3-pointer to again bring Tulsa within a basket when Jones again scored over Idlet.
Haralson was short on a 3-point try and Jones sealed the victory with a pair of free throws.
“Part-way through, maybe late in the first half, I filed it away in the back of my brain, ‘You know what? This is really a high-level game and we’re here,’” said Saint Joseph’s coach Phil Martelli, who won on his 35th wedding anniversary.
Galloway picked up for Jones’ sluggish start, scoring 15 of his team-high 23 points in the opening period. Galloway was 5 of 5 from behind the arc with four rebounds and three steals. Roberts had 13 points and Aiken 12 for the Hawks, who shot over 59 percent (29 of 49) for the game
Haralson led the Golden Hurricane with 24 points and Clarkson ended with 19.
Tulsa coach Doug Wojcik could find little fault with his club, which followed an opening day win over Western Kentucky with four-point losses to both Northwestern and the Hawks.
“I thought they attacked early in the second half and got some buckets that we didn’t get down low,” he said. “That was the difference in us in whether we could build a lead or not.”
It could be tough for many teams to build a lead on Saint Joseph’s when Jones is playing the way he did against Tulsa.
“It was a real good game from beginning to end,” Jones said. “We just executed at the end and did what we’re supposed to do. We did the right thing when we needed to do the right thing.”
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