KINGSTON, R.I. – James Demery scored 21 points, and Taylor Funk had 17 points on perfect shooting as Saint Joseph’s turned in its best performance of the year and upset #17 Rhode Island, 78-48, at the Ryan Center. The Hawks (14-15; 9-8 A-10) have now won two in a row and five of the last six.
Demery shot 10-for-15 from the field and Funk was 5-for-5 from the field, 3-for-3 from three-point range and 4-for-4 from the foul line. Senior Shavar Newkirk had 14 points and seven assists while Nick Robinson added 10 points.
SJU held Rhode Island (23-5; 15-2) to its lowest point total of the season and handed the Rams their first home loss of the season.
It was Saint Joseph’s first win over a ranked opponent in a true road game since Jan. 2, 1979, when the Hawks defeated #15 Georgetown, 37-36, at McDonough Arena. It is also SJU’s first win over a Top 25 team since a 79-70 win over #15 Dayton on February 17, 2016 at Hagan Arena.
The Hawks jumped out quickly on the Rams, breaking a 7-7 tie with a 13-0 run to take a 20-7 lead, as Funk hit for five points in the spurt. SJU kept it going, building up a 24-10 lead at 7:35 as Rhode Island made only four of its first 20 field goals and was 1-for-10 from three-point range.
In a four-minute stretch near the end of the half, SJU outscored the Rams, 11-4, to take a 35-16 halftime lead. It was Rhode Island’s lowest point total in a half this season and the lowest scored by a Hawk opponent.
The second half was more of the same as the Hawks went up by 20, 39-19, in the first two and a half minutes and were up by 31 points, 52-21, at the 13:31 mark on a layup by Funk.
Rhode Island made only one of their first 23 three-point attempts, hitting their second with under 10 minutes to play in the second half.
The Hawks close out the regular season on Saturday against local rival La Salle at 2 p.m. at Hagan Arena. It is “Senior Day” where the Hawks players and managers will be honored in a pre-game ceremony.