Lamarr Kimble hit a three-pointer with 0.4 seconds to play to lift Saint Joseph’s to a 45-42 win over Loyola Chicago at The Palestra.
Loyola tied the game with :14 to play on a three-pointer by Marcus Townes, and after an SJU timeout at 12.7, Kimble was fouled at :07. SJU inbounded again and Kimble worked his way to the top of the key and connected on the three, which was his third game-winning shot as a Hawk.
Kimble scored 15 points in the game with Charlie Brown, Jr., adding 11. Loyola was led by 12 points from Clayton Custer and 10 from Marcus Townes.
In a game which saw both teams struggle offensively, Saint Joseph’s held the biggest lead of the game, 34-27, with just under 10 minutes to play. With SJU leading 40-35 after a jumper by Brown with 3:57 remaining, the Ramblers ran off four straight points to pull within, 40-39. Kimble then drove the lane and increased SJU’s lead to 42-39, but Townes answered with the tying three-pointer.
"I'm happy about the win more than anything. We needed to turn things around and we got the win. Buzzer beaters and game-winning shots are just things that happen,” said Kimble. "Defensively, they made it rough for us. We had to play a different game . . . and we had to find out a way to come out with a win and we were able to do that at the end of the day."
"Coach gave us the play out of the timeout and they fouled us and we ran the same exact one. They took Charlie away and from then on it was about making a play, and that’s what I did,” said the team captain.
“It wasn’t exactly the way we drew it up,’’ said coach Phil Martelli. “But he’s got a little bit of freedom, because his heart’s bigger than his body.”
Saint Joseph’s, which entered the game ranked second in the nation in fewest turnovers (8.3), committed a season-high 13 turnovers, while Loyola had 16.
Loyola led 21-20 early in the second half, but the Hawks took a 25-21 lead on a basket by Kimble and a three-pointer by Taylor Funk. Kimble added another field goal and SJU was up by 30-24 and never trailed the rest of the way.
Both teams struggled to score in the first half, as each team shot 20 percent from the field and were a combined 2-for-23 from three-point range, as SJU held a 20-16 halftime lead. Both teams also committed eight turnovers apiece, which for the Hawks was their per-game average.
It was Saint Joseph’s first game in 14 days, as they last played Villanova on Dec. 8. It gave the Hawks back-to-back games against the previous year’s Final Four participants for perhaps the first time ever.
The Hawks get another break for Christmas and will be back at Hagan Arena on December 29 when they host Wagner.