The Saint Joseph's men's basketball team (7-5; 1-0) will ring in the New Year by visiting Rhode Island (9-4; 1-0) on Tuesday, January 3 at the Ryan Center. The game will be televised nationally by the CBS Sports Network at 7 p.m.
The radio broadcast will be carried on 610 Sports and on SJUHawks.com.
ARENA: Ryan Center
TELEVISION: CBSSN (Jason Knapp, Mo Cassara)
RADIO: 610 Sports (Matt Martucci, Joe Lunardi
AUDIO STREAMING: SJUHawks.com - LISTEN
VIDEO STREAMING: None
SJU STREAK: 2 wins
HAWKS’ NEXT GAME: Jan. 7 at Fordham, 3 p.m., NBCSN
• The Hawks suffered a huge blow as Shavar Newkirk tore his ACL in the win over George Washington and will be out for the season (more on page 4).
• Junior James Demery made his return to action against GW after missing 10 games with a stress fracture. Demery played 25 minutes off the bench and had nine points and four assists.
• Saint Joseph’s leads the A-10 and ranks fifth in the nation with fewest turnovers (128).
• Shavar Newkirk ranked third in the Atlantic 10 in scoring (21.2) before suffering the season-ending injury.
• The next A-10 victory will be the 200th conference win of Phil Martelli’s career.
• SJU is on the road for two straight games, traveling to Fordham on Saturday.
DEVASTATING BLOW: Junior Shavar Newkirk will miss the rest of the 2016-17 season after suffering a torn ACL in his left knee in the Hawks’ win over George Washington. He will undergo surgery in three to four weeks. Newkirk keyed the Hawks’ comeback from 12 points down in the first half, and was about to score his sixth straight point on a fast break, when he went down with the non-contact injury. He finished the game with 10 points and SJU won, 68-63. Newkirk is the Hawks’ leading scorer, averaging 20.3 points per game through 12 games. He scored 20-plus points in all but four games this season, reaching a new career-high of 28 points. Newkirk topped the Hawks in free-throw percentage (.847) and averaged 3.5 assists per game, while hitting 46.6 percent of his field goal attempts. His scoring average was 13 points more than last season’s (8.0). “This is certainly disappointing to all of us in the Saint Joseph’s basketball program. Our thoughts and concern go out to Shavar and his family,” said Phil Martelli. “We're fully supportive of him, academically and socially, and as he makes his return to the basketball court, bigger, stronger and better than ever. His teammates have expressed the same level of support.”
HE’S BACK: Ironically for the Hawks, on the day that junior James Demery made his return to the court after missing 10 games, Shavar Newkirk went down with his season-ending injury. Demery played in the season opener on Nov. 12 but suffered a stress fracture in his left foot that sidelined him for the next 10 contests. The junior had nine points, four rebuonds and four assists off the bench in his return to action against GW. Demery was a starter as a freshman and was the sixth man for the 2016 A-10 champion team, averaging 8.1 points per game. His return also gives SJU’s defense a boost as he has been regarded as the team’s best defender over the past few seasons.
THE GOOD GUY: Phil Martelli has been named the recipient of this year’s “Good Guy Award” from the Philadelphia Sports Writers Association, which will be presented at the 113th annual PSWA banquet on Feb. 3 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Cherry Hill. Martelli, always helpful and accessible to the media in good times and bad, capped off a strong 2015-16 season by storming through the Atlantic 10 Tournament, to win the Hawks' second title in three years and earn an eighth seed in the NCAA Tournament. The Hawks then defeated No. 9 Cincinnati for their first NCAA Tournament win since 2004 before bowing to Oregon in the second round, finishing at a stellar 28-8. The conference title was the second in the last three years for Martelli, who is also a four-time A-10 Coach of the Year.
INJURY BUG: The Hawks are certainly jinxed with significant injuries this year, with the latest setback being Shavar Newkirk’s torn ACL. The streak of bad luck began this summer when sophomore Pierfrancesco Oliva, a starter in 2015-16, was diagnosed with a knee condition that is causing him to miss the year. James Demery suffered a stress fracture in the first game on Nov. 12 that forced him to miss 10 games. Freshman Lorenzo Edwards has played in only one game this year and is battling a shoulder injury that has sidelined him indefinitely.
THIN RANKS: SJU has 17 players on its roster, but only 14 healthy ones.
NO “I” IN TEAM: The GW win was a team effort in the second half as the Hawks rallied without Shavar Newkirk as everyone chipped in. Among those contributing were Chris Clover, who scored seven points in 13 minutes of action in the second half, and Nick Robinson, who had a key steal and rebound in the final 30 seconds to preserve the win.
CHARLIE IN CHARGE: Freshman Charlie Brown was one of the catalysts in SJU’s win over GW, as he scored 13 points on 6-for-9 shooting. His three-pointer at 2:25 gave the Hawks the lead for good.
WHO’S NEXT?: Sophomore Chris Clover is expected to make his first career start at Rhode Island in place of Shavar Newkirk.
WELL-GUARDED: Prior to Shavar Newkirk’s injury, Saint Joseph’s backcourt of Newkirk and Lamarr “Fresh” Kimble had combined to score 49 percent of the Hawks’ 641 points and have each exceeded their career-highs already this year. Newkirk had a career-high 28 points in the opener vs. Toledo, with Kimble bettering his career-high by scoring 16 points. Kimble then increased his personal best vs. Columbia with 19 points, and again with 26 points against Loyola Chicago. Newkirk has recorded 20-plus points in eight of 12 games.
LOOKING AHEAD: SJU plays its second straight on the road traveling to Fordham on Jan. 7. The Hawks return home on Jan. 10 to host George Mason and then face Richmond on Jan. 14.