The only thing too close to home in Friday night's Coaches vs. Cancer college basketball doubleheader was how directly that disease has hit Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton's family. When Hamilton's brother Willie died in March, he joined Hamilton's grandmother, father and another brother as cancer victims.
That figured into Florida State's willingness to join Brigham Young, Notre Dame and St. Joseph's in the long trek to Brooklyn's new Barclays Center, which is 1,100 miles from Florida State's Tallahassee campus -- half as far as Brigham Young came from Utah.
For a good cause, Notre Dame trekked 710 miles, meaning the nearest thing to a home team in New York's most populous borough was Philadelphia-based St. Joseph's. Before a sparse "non-home" crowd, St. Joseph's (2-0) sweated out a frantic 79-70 overtime victory over Notre Dame (2-1) after Florida State (2-1) maintained its distance, 88-70, from Brigham Young (2-1). The winners and losers play each other in Saturday night's Barclays twin bill.
Notre Dame equaled its largest lead at 66-58 with 3:50 to go, but St. Joseph's scored the next eight points to force the extra period, the 66-66 tie coming on junior Langston Galloway's flying reverse layup with 1:32 left. St. Joseph's finally sneaked ahead as 6-8 Ronald Roberts scored seven of his game-high 21 points in overtime. Roberts added a game-high 16 rebounds.
St. Joseph's played without leading scorer Carl Jones, serving a three-game suspension for violating unspecified "university community standards." But it prevailed with plenty of help from 6-8 Hofstra transfer Halil Kanacevic, who had 15 points, eight rebounds, six assists, three blocks and three steals.
Notre Dame got 14 points and 14 rebounds from rugged senior Jack Cooley before he fouled out with 1:25 to go in overtime.
So the theme was about great lengths. Tyler Haws, who scored Brigham Young's first 11 points and finished with a game-high 23, just returned after a two-year mission with the Mormon church in the faraway Philippines. To offset Haws, Florida State relied on its jump shooting from binocular range.
Florida State hit 11 of 20 three-point attempts, led by Michael Snaer (3-for-5), Ian Miller (3-for-5) and Davon Bookert (3-for-4). Snaer totaled 16 points. Okaro White had a team-high 17.