NEW YORK (AP) — Langston Galloway pushed St. Joseph’s past Dayton with a late 3, giving the Hawks’ NCAA hopes a boost and sending the Flyers home for a couple of nervous days, hoping for a bid to the big tournament.
Galloway created some space with a left forearm to the defender’s chest before hitting the go-ahead shot from long range with 17.9 seconds left and St. Joseph’s beat Dayton 70-67 in the quarterfinals of the Atlantic 10 tournament on Friday.
Fourth-seeded St. Joseph’s (22-9) completed a three-game sweep of the Flyers (23-10) in a game matching teams hoping to land — though far from locks to receive — at-large NCAA tournament bids.
Of course, St. Joe’s coach Phil Martelli endorsed both his Hawks and coach Archie Miller’s Flyers.
“You saw two high-level teams, and if justice is to be served for those kids and for Archie and that wonderful fan base, they’ll get their name called Sunday,” Martelli said.
St. Joe’s advances to the semifinals Saturday to face St. Bonaventure, which upset No. 18 Saint Louis on a 3 at the buzzer in the day’s first game at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Game 2 was another thriller.
Matt Kavanaugh made a baseline jumper to give fifth-seeded Dayton a 67-66 lead with 40 seconds left.
Galloway, who beat the Flyers in the regular season by banking in a 3 with 1.8 seconds left on Jan. 29, used a jab step — and a little extra — to get free at the top of the key and nailed a 3 over Kyle Davis to put the Hawks up 69-67.
“I just got enough room to shoot it,” Galloway said. “That’s all I need to shoot the ball, and it went in.
“The whole night they were letting us play. Everyone was just trying to be physical and make plays.”
The senior finished with 31 points.
Dayton’s Dyshawn Pierre said he thought the call could have gone either way.
“We thought it was a push off. But at the end of the day that’s a tough shot,” he said.
Miller said he thought Galloway made some space, but didn’t complain about the non-call. He was far more critical of himself for not drawing up a better play on the ensuing possession.
“The officials did a good job,” Miller said.
Devin Oliver missed a 3 for Dayton with the clock winding down and DeAndre Bembry rebounded for the Hawks with a second left.
Bembry, who scored 15 points, added a free throw and Dayton couldn’t pull off a miracle.
Pierre led the Flyers with 11 points. Kavanaugh and Jordan Sibert each had 10 for the Flyers.
Dayton entered the quarterfinals having won four straight and 10 of 11 overall to make a push for an NCAA at-large bid. The only loss during that span came to St. Joe’s. The Flyers’ last loss before their sprint to the finish was to St. Joe’s on Galloway’s late 3.
“Our guys have come off one of the more memorable runs that a team has had,” Miller said. “If it weren’t for St. Joe’s, unfortunately, I don’t necessarily know if we would lose another game. But we can’t beat them right now.”
The Flyers last made the NCAA tournament in 2009. And if they do get in this time, there is a shot they could play on their home floor in the first four.
St. Joseph’s lost its last two regular-season games to make the road to the NCAA tournament a little less clear. The Hawks and longtime coach Martelli haven’t been to the NCAAs since 2008. He believes that streak is about to end.
“We’re in the semifinals in THIS league? Enough said,” Martelli said.
The lead never got beyond six points for either team. Every mini-run was answered with another.
“It was a fistfight for 40 minutes,” Martelli said.
Ronald Roberts put St. Joe’s up 64-60 with 5:26 left, skying high over a defender to slam back a missed 3-pointer and leaving the backboard shaking. When Galloway added a couple of free throws moments later it looked as if, with the six-point lead, the Hawks had things under control.
Sibert hit a 3 and Kavanaugh took advantage of foul trouble on St. Joe’s big man Halil Kanacevic to score down low and make it 66-65 with 2:20 left.
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