La Salle came from behind to defeat Saint Joseph’s, 81-78, in an Atlantic 10 matchup at Gola Arena, ruining a career-high 30-point effort from SJU senior Shavar Newkirk.
La Salle improves to 10-13 and 4-6 in the A-10 while SJU has lost four in a row and falls to 9-13 and 4-6 in the league.
Jamir Moultrie’s three-pointer at 1:06 proved to be the gamewinner as it gave La Salle a 75-72 lead. After the Hawks came up empty on their next possession, Pookie Powell made two from the line at :40 to give the Explorers a 77-72 cushion.
Newkirk got a basket back for the Hawks but B.J. Johnson hit two more free throws for La Salle. After a layup by Newkirk, Demery came up with a steal at 14.9 and made both free throws to cut the Hawks’ deficit to 79-78. B.J. Johnson converted two free throws at :13 to provide the final margin as Saint Joseph’s missed two three-point attempts in the final seconds.
After leading by as much as 13 points in the first half, the Hawks maintained a single-digit lead through of the second half, but La Salle’s Jamir Moultrie connected on a three at 9:56 to give La Salle its first lead, 61-58, since the opening minutes.
The Hawks were in control for most of the first half, and took a 13-9 lead on a three by Lorenzo Edwards. After a basket by La Salle, scored nine straight points, with another three by Edwards and a pair from Demery, to take a 22-12 lead. SJU increased it to its biggest margin of the half, 32-19, after five points from Demery.
Saint Joseph’s had the 13-point lead 41-28, late in the half, but the Explorers closed out the half with a 10-2 run on a pair of threes from Johnson to give the Hawks a 43-38 halftime lead.
Newkirk, who hit a career-high five three-pointers, surpassed the 1,000-point mark for his career in the second half, becoming the 55th player in Hawk history to do so. He’s the second to do so this season as Demery notched his in early January.
Demery scored 20 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for his third double-double of the season. Pierfrancesco Oliva added 10 points and eight rebounds for the Hawks.
“We’ve seen this before, missed free throws and turnovers. This is the man in the mirror,” said Saint Joseph’s coach Phil Martelli.
Johnson had 25 for the Explorers , while Amar Stukes scored 20 points. Moultrie scored 18 while making six three-pointers. Powell had 15 points and 11 assists.
The Hawks go on the road this week for a rare Tuesday game, visiting Davidson on February 6.