FULLERTON, CALIF. - Saint Joseph’s fell behind from the start and couldn’t make up the difference, falling to Harvard (3-3), 77-71, in the consolation round of the Wooden Legacy at Titan Gym.
James Demery had 18 points for SJU (2-3) while Pierfrancesco Oliva scored a career-high 16 points. Taylor Funk added 11 points and Lorenzo Edwards grabbed a career-high seven rebounds.
Saint Joseph’s will close out play in the Wooden Legacy on Sunday against the loser of the Sacramento State-Cal State Fullerton game at 2:30 p.m. Eastern (11:30 a.m. Pacific), with the broadcast on ESPN3 and Talk Radio 1210 WPHT.
The Hawks cut their deficit to single digits in the second, and even came within a point three times, but couldn’t get over the hump.
Funk hit his third three-pointer of the half to trim Harvard’s lead to 59-58, but the Crimson outscored SJU, 10-2, to take a 69-60 advantage at 5:39. From there, the Crimson built the lead back to their biggest of the half, 74-64, with 1:13 remaining to put the game out of reach.
SJU came within a point early in the second half, but Harvard stretched it back to 51-42 with 14:55 to play.
The Hawks again made a run and although back-to-back threes by Funk pulled SJU within 51-50, Harvard answered with a three-point play from Danilo Djuricic and extended the lead to 54-50.
From the start, the Hawks fell behind quickly, shooting just 2-for-9 from the field in the first eight minutes, allowing Harvard to run up an 18-5 score. Saint Joseph’s was without a field goal for six minutes as the Crimson took a 23-9 lead.
SJU chipped away and a three-pointer by Lorenzo Edwards closed the Hawks to within 25-18.
A three-point play form Oliva from a long pass from Funk, 30-25, at 1:42 and the Hawks went into halftime trailing, 34-28.
“We had way too many empty possessions. We showed a lack of energy on defense that hurt us. They had a couple unanticipated additions to lineup that made it hard on us down underneath the basket. Our team gave up too many points to their big men (Henry Welsh and Robert Baker) and we can’t be successful in the Atlantic 10 if we continue to play with these continuous mistakes," said coach Phil Martelli.
“We will start to prepare for our next opponent on Sunday, as if we were home, and as of right now we can’t really do much to change this. We have a tough week coming up with Bucknell University on Wednesday and Villanova on Saturday, so in regards to our players we are telling them that it starts with the man in the mirror, we need our players to self-evaluate themselves and start to learn their role on this team and utilize that.”