Seniors Shavar Newkirk and James Demery combined for 47 points to lead Saint Joseph’s (7-7; 2-1 A-10) to an 85-78 win over St. Bonaventure (11-4; 1-2) in an Atlantic 10 Conference game at Hagan Arena, for the Hawks’ second straight win.
The win ended a seven-game losing streak for the Hawks against St. Bonaventure, marking their first win since March 15, 2014.
Demery scored 24 points on 8-for-13 shooting, and a 6-for-7 effort from the line. Newkirk had 23 points, which included 11-of-14 free throws, and tied his career-high with 10 rebounds for his second double-double of the season. Pierfrancesco Oliva had nine points, eight rebounds and eight assists for the Hawks.
Jaylen Adams led St. Bonaventure with 19 points while Courtney Stockard scored 17. Philadelphia native Izaiah Brockington scored 16 points for the Bonnies.
Leading at halftime, 42-35, Saint Joseph’s came out on fire in the second half and went on an 11-4 run in the first four minutes to build up a 53-39 lead. The Hawks took their biggest lead of the game, 61-44, at 15:21 on a three-point play by Oliva. Saint Joseph’s shot 67 percent from the field over the first eight minutes of the second half, and led, 66-53.
Saint Joseph’s cooled off from that point and St. Bonaventure got back into the game, using a 7-0 run to cut the deficit to 66-60 with 10:24 to play. But SJU fought off every attempt by the Bonnies to overtake the lead, and a three-point play by Demery at 3:26 upped SJU’s advantage to 79-71.
Stockard converted back-to-back layups to pull St. Bonaventure within 79-75 at 1:09, but the Hawks’ seniors sealed the win as Newkirk and Demery each went 3-for-4 from the foul line in the final 26 seconds.
The Hawks led from the start in the game and after St. Bonaventure tied it, 19-19, at 12:15, Saint Joseph’s went on a 12-4 run, with four from Nick Robinson, to take a 31-23. But SJU went scoreless for almost four minutes, allowing the Bonnies to close within, 31-29. Demery and Newkirk combined for the next six points to build SJU’s lead back up to 37-31, and they carried a 42-35 lead into the break.
Saint Joseph's defense limited the Bonnies' Matt Mobley to just two points, well under his 18.7 scoring average. The Hawks, who lead the nation in fewest turnovers, committed 13 but had 18 assists on the evening.
"Other than the turnovers, I thought we played well. We had some rhythm there at the beginning of the second half where we got up by 17, and then the play with Nick Robinson broke it loose. Then we had a flurry of follow-ups," said head coach Phil Martelli. "You can't walk out of here without recognizing the scouting report by (assistant coach) Dave Duda and the idea to try to eliminate one of them - we weren't going to eliminate [Matt] Mobley and [Jaylen] Adams. We went to faceguard Mobley, and Chris Clover did it most of the night with Nick Robinson also building his game in. I thought Checco [Oliva] was brilliant in the middle of the zone."
Saint Joseph’s goes on the road for two straight beginning on Wednesday at George Mason, followed by a trip to Massachusetts on Sunday, January 14.