The way the first half went, this didn’t look like a game in which St. Joseph’s would show it still had any beats left in its basketball heart.
Considering how dreadful the Hawks had been during Atlantic 10 play -- aside from handing Davidson its first league loss last week -- it would have been difficult to say that lowly Richmond was a team they should beat.
That was especially true when the Spiders held a double-digit lead through much of the first half.
Then the second 20 minutes were played.
Charlie Brown had his first career double-double with 31 points and 14 rebounds, and his tenacity willed St. Joe’s to a 74-70 victory over Richmond at Hagan Arena.
With St. Joe’s trailing by seven with less than three minutes to play, Brown snared an offensive rebound and made a follow-up basket to launch the Hawks (9-10, 2-5 A-10) on a 13-2 run to close out the Spiders (7-12, 1-5).
Brown scored eight during the run, including 6-for-6 on free throws.
“All credit to the players," said St. Joe’s coach Phil Martelli, whose team trailed by as much as 15 in the first half. “They stayed with it. We’ve had a tendency to hang our heads when things went the other way. ... In other games when we got down, it just got away from us. Tonight we fought through that.”
After Grant Golden put Richmond up 70-67 with just under a minute remaining, Taylor Funk, who scored 12, responded for St. Joe’s by making a three-pointer to tie the game with 38 seconds left.
Richmond worked the clock down and then found Golden on the baseline about 3 feet from the rim.
Golden, who scored 24, went up for the shot. Funk not only blocked his shot from behind but also caused the ball to deflect off him and out of bounds to give the Hawks possession with nine seconds remaining.
Jared Bynum took the in-bounds pass and dribbled to the three-point arc. With about 3 seconds remaining, the freshman point guard drove to the basket and was fouled by Jacob Gilyard, sending him to the foul line for a one-and-one.
Bynum (12 points, four assists) answered the call. His two free throws with 1.8 seconds left gave the Hawks the lead and Brown sealed the victory by making two more free throws.
After shooting just one free throw in the first half, the Hawks made 11 of 12 in the second. The Hawks turned things around by switching to a zone defense in the second half. Richmond scored 27 after putting up 43 in the first 20 minutes.