James Demery had 20 points and senior guard Shavar Newkirk had 19 points and 10 rebounds to lead Saint Joseph’s to an 83-70 win over Bucknell (3-5) at Hagan Arena.
Chris Clover added a season-high 17 points, as he scored 14 in the first half to pace the Hawks in just their second home game of the season.
It was the first career double-double for Newkirk, who also had six assists, while Pierfrancesco Oliva grabbed 10 rebounds for Saint Joseph’s (4-3).
The Hawks led for all but two minutes at the start of the game and staked a 20-11 lead, led by eight points from Clover. Bucknell came within 25-16, but Clover hit back-to-back three pointers and the Hawks took their biggest lead of the half, 33-18, with over five minutes to play.
Saint Joseph’s held a 40-27 advantage at the half, as it held Bucknell to 9-for-36 shooting and a 2-for-16 effort from three-point range, while Clover reached his season-high.
Leading 47-33 SJU scored seven straight, with five from Nick Robinson, to take its biggest lead of the game, 54-33, with 13:55 to play. Bucknell would come no closer than 12 points the rest of the way.
"I'm surprised with the methodical nature. I thought it would be high-scoring. What I just told the players was to get a win and to know all the stuff we need to work on,” said SJu coach Phil Martelli. “We're not going to get away with 43 points in a half with anyone else on our schedule. We're just looking for more pop. Obviously, their ball didn't go in. The number to me is the turnovers (6). We're doing a really good job."
"I know we can play better and have to play better than that. But that's a really high-level team that has challenged themselves, and they'll be in the NCAA Tournament. We have to grow on it."
Bucknell entered the contest averaging 85 points per game but the Hawks held the Bison to their lowest offensive output of the year. The Bison were led by Zach Thomas with 15 points and a career-high 19 rebounds, while Nana Foulland had 17 points and 10 rebounds.
The Hawks remain in Philadelphia for the next three games and will host Big 5 rival and fourth-ranked Villanova at sold-out Hagan Arena on Saturday at 5:30 p.m.