PHILADELPHIA, FEB. 27 -- St. Joseph's held off a George Washington comeback for a 64-62 victory today before 3,039 at Alumni Memorial Fieldhouse. The Colonials (12-14, 6-11) went scoreless for the first 6:15 of the second half. Their last-minute rally fell short when Kenny Barer's layup went off the rim at the buzzer.
"It was a very good shot," GW head Coach John Kuester said. "The kids did a great job of getting the ball down low."
GW led, 31-27, at halftime, but St. Joseph's (14-12, 9-8) scored the first 12 points of the second half. The Hawks controlled both backboards, outrebounding GW, 49-35, with forward Henry Smith getting 16.
The Colonials battled back behind senior forward Gerald Jackson's career-high 26 points (four of six three-pointers). His three-pointer ended the drought for GW, and started him toward 18 second-half points.
The Colonials held St. Joseph's to two field goals in the last 7:40. Trailing, 52-42, at that point, GW used an aggressive man-to-man defense to force the Hawks out of their offense.
St. Joseph's made only five of 13 free throws in the second half. Jackson's 17-foot jumper with 4:42 left made it 56-51. When Mike Jones (14 points) jammed home an offensive rebound with 1:10 left, he pulled GW to 60-56. The Hawks' all-Atlantic 10 center Rodney Blake also fouled out on the play. Jones missed the free throw, however, not unusual because GW shot just 17 of 28 from the line.
Jackson's jumper made it 62-60 with 42 seconds left. Ellis McKennie got GW within two with 19 seconds left, and when St. Joseph's Richard Stewart missed the front end of a one-and-one six seconds later, the Colonials had a chance to tie.
But the Hawks denied Jackson the ball, forcing Barer to drive left. He made a strong move, but his shot was a little too strong, rolling around the rim and out.
"We played well," Kuester said. "Except at one place -- the foul line."
GW used a halfcourt trap for a 10-2 run that ended when Jones made a steal at midcourt and converted it into a three-point play. The trap forced the Hawks into three of their nine first-half turnovers and led to seven points.