RICHMOND, VA - Sophomore Nick Robinson scored a career-high 20 points and Shavar Newkirk had 18, including a pair of free throws with 14 seconds to play, as Saint Joseph’s (13-15; 8-8 A-10) edged Richmond, 72-70, at the Robins Center.
After Richmond (9-19; 7-9) cut the Hawks’ lead to 70-68 on a pair of free throws from Kwhan Fore with 47 seconds to play, the teams traded turnovers and Newkirk ended up with the ball of a steal by Taylor Funk. The senior made both free throws to give SJU a 72-68 lead before DeMonte’ Buckingham scored on a tip-in at :08 to pull Richmond within 72-70. The Hawks committed a turnover with under seven seconds to play setting up a last shot by Richmond, but it was off the mark as time expired.
SJU led the entire first half before Richmond used an 11-2 run to take its first lead of the game, 46-44, on a bucket by Grant Golden at 11:05. From there, the game was nip and tuck with the teams trading points and leads until Newkirk scored six straight to give the Hawks a 62-56 lead with four minutes to play.
A three-pointer by Nick Sherod cut the Hawks’ lead to 62-59, but threes from Funk and Robinson sandwiched one by Khwan Fore to make it a 68-62 game. A bucket from Golden pulled Richmond to 68-64 before a dunk by Robinson upped SJU’s advantage to 70-64, leading into the final minute of play.
Robinson made 8-of-12 from the field for his first career game of 20 points and added eight rebounds. Funk and James Demery scored 12 points apiece for the Hawks, who made a season best 11-of-12 free throws in the second half.
It was the 11th game this season involving the Hawks that was decided by four points or less, as SJU bounced back from a 79-76 loss to George Mason on a buzzer beater earlier this week.
Saint Joseph’s led from the start and went up 16-8 in the first 10 minutes behind seven points from Robinson. After Richmond cut it to 16-14 on a pair of three-pointers from Sherod, the Hawks rattled off nine straight points to take their biggest lead of the half, 25-14, at 6:25. Richmond cut it to single digits and came within 32-27 at 1:20 before Funk’s third three-pointer of the half built the Hawk lead to 35-27 before a Spider basket made it a 35-29 margin at intermission.
For two teams that are bumping along, I think it was a well played game. Sixteen turnovers, and two of ours were in the last minute. Mixing and matching defenses - both teams did that.
Sherod led Richmond with 20 points, Golden finished with 16 and Fore scored 14.
The Hawks have a quick turnaround and go back on the road to visit league regular-season champion Rhode Island on Tuesday. The game will be televised nationally on the CBS Sports Network at 7 p.m.