Hoops Hysteria: Men’s, Women’s Basketball Earn NCAA Tourney Bids

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

by Jeffrey Martin '04, '05 (M.A.)

For just the third time in school history, March brings a double dose of Hawk happiness to campus, as both the men’s and women’s basketball teams will play in their respective NCAA Tournaments.

The men’s team earned its spot in the tournament Sunday by defeating Virginia Commonwealth, 65-61, in the finals of the Atlantic 10 Championship, held at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. The victory brought Saint Joseph’s its third A-10 title and first since 1997. Senior forward Halil Kanacevic was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player, while fellow seniors Langston Galloway and Ronald Roberts Jr. were named to the All-Championship team.

Addressing students at a campus celebration after the championship game, head coach Phil Martelli said, “This trophy… is yours, because you filled the student section, and you stayed with us. Walk around the rest of this year with your chest out, your head held high and your eyes clear.”

The team was given a No. 10 seed in the East Region of the NCAA tournament and will face Connecticut this Thurs., March 20, in Buffalo, N.Y.

Meanwhile, the women’s basketball team earned an at-large bid in the tournament by virtue of a strong regular season resume. The team went 21-8 overall and 10-6 in conference play. The Hawks entered the A-10 Women’s Championship as the fifth seed but lost to George Washington in the tournament’s quarterfinals.

When the brackets were unveiled Monday night, the Hawks found themselves as the No. 9 seed in the Lincoln Region, slated to face Georgia in the first round on Sun., March 23, in Storrs, Conn.

“It was a long week of waiting,” said head coach Cindy Griffin ’91, ’93 (M.B.A.), in an interview with SJUHawks.com All-Access. “We had a strong resume and felt confident going in [to the selection show]. We feel great about where we are.”

For more information about both teams’ postseasons, visit www.sjuhawks.com.

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