A meeting with 2018 NCAA Final Four team Loyola Chicago at the Palestra is among the highlights of the Saint Joseph’s men’s basketball non-conference schedule for 2018-19. In addition, the Hawks will participate in the inaugural Myrtle Beach Invitational, visit the defending NCAA champion and play a total of 16 home games.
SJU returns 10 players this year, including six who have owned starting roles. The Hawks welcome back Lamarr Kimble (15.5 ppg) and Charlie Brown, Jr. (12.8 ppg), who both missed the 2017-18 season with injuries. Sophomore Taylor Funk (11.8 ppg) is the team’s leading returning scorer while Pierfrancesco Oliva, Chris Clover and Anthony Longpre’ have all been starters during their careers. Newcomers to the Hawks are 5-8 point guard Jared Bynum (Georgetown Prep) and 6-9 forward Valdir Manuel (Patrick School).
The Hawks will face fellow Jesuit school Loyola Chicago on Saturday, December 22, marking SJU’s first game in the historic building against a non-Big 5 team since 2010-11. The schools, which last met at the 2016 Paradise Jam in the U.S. Virgin Islands, will play a return game in Chicago in November 2019.
“Scheduling the Loyola game took a lot of phone calls and many connections with different people. We’ve been trying for years to play them. We were intrigued with the chance to make it a Christmas special and play December 22 at the Palestra,” said head coach Phil Martelli, now in his 24th season. “A great deal went into this for months and we worked every conceivable angle to get this game. It started in April and we worked on it every day. It will be a great opportunity for our program.”
SJU will open the 2018-19 season with a pair of games at Hagan Arena, hosting Old Dominion on Friday, November 9, and Monmouth on Monday, November 12.
Saint Joseph’s will then take part in the inaugural Myrtle Beach Invitational, to be held at the HTC Center in Conway, S.C., from November 15-18. The Hawks will open play in the quarterfinals against Wake Forest on November 15 on ESPNU, and then face either UCF or Cal State Fullerton on November 16. The tournament concludes on Sunday, November 18 against possible opponents Monmouth, Valparaiso, West Virginia or Western Kentucky.
After a road trip to William & Mary on November 24, SJU will host UIC (Illinois at Chicago) at Hagan Arena in a return game from last year.
The Hawks will take on two Big 5 rivals in the span of a week, hosting Temple on December 1 and visiting defending NCAA champion Villanova on December 8. In between those contests is a trip to Princeton on December 5.
After facing Loyola Chicago, the Hawks will close out the calendar year by hosting Wagner on December 29. Saint Joseph’s faces Big 5 foe Penn in the final non-conference game of the season on January 26 at the Palestra.
“Whenever you can start with the defending national champion and teams like Temple and Penn, you already have a solid base for a non-conference schedule. Old Dominion has won 25 games in three of the last four years and they’re well coached. The Myrtle Beach tournament is a tremendous opportunity for the program, as is William & Mary, while Princeton is a terrific series,” said Martelli.
Saint Joseph’s schedule with the full Atlantic 10 slate will be announced later this summer, as will ticket information.