By Harry Allison
Phil Martelli and his St. Joseph’s Hawks discovered that, as the movie says, there are things to do in Denver.
Including losing to the University of Denver on a slam dunk just before the buzzer in overtime.
Guard Cam Griffin slammed home the winner to give Denver a 77-73 overtime victory. Griffin’s dunk came just after Saint Joseph’s had cut the Pioneers’ lead to two points on a clutch field goal by Isaiah Miles that put the outcome in doubt until Griffin settled the issue.
Griffin scored six of DU’s final nine points that pulled out the victory. The Pioneers (6-7) led all the way in the overtime, with Brett Olson hitting two clutch 3-point field goals to give Griffin all the support he needed.
“Most important, this was getting a win against a good team,” DU coach Joe Scott said. “Our press changed the game. Our defense got better and better, and our offense was terrific in the second half. We’ve got 16 league games coming up that are going to be the same kind of games.”
While Scott looked at the play against the Hawks (6-5) as a plus, Saint Joseph’s coach Phil Martelli thought the opposite.
“To be looking at 14 turnovers, we weren’t prepared enough and that’s what changed the game,” Martelli said. “We had everything going in the right direction and we gave the game away. It’s a fruitless trip to come all this way and give the game away like that.”
With 24 points from Miles leading the way, the Hawks seemed in control as the second half moved along. As late as 5:10 to go, the Hawks had a 62-57 lead on DeAndre Bembry’s field goal (photo above).
But the Pioneers stayed with it and gained the tie on Olson’s two free throws with 42 seconds left in regulation.
With four players in double figures in scoring, led by Olson’s 27, the Pioneers shot 55.8 percent from the field for the game. They shot 60 percent, 15-of-25, in their second-half rally. The Pioneers outscored the Hawks 35-28 in the second half to force the overtime
Saint Joseph’s shot 52.2 percent from the field, but the Hawks were hurt by their 14 turnovers.