The Saint Joseph's men's basketball team (5-5) returns to Hagan Arena for the first time since November when it hosts Lafayette (4-6) on Thursday, December 22. Game time is 7 p.m.

The game can be seen on the A-10 Digital Network with a subscription. WATCH

The radio broadcast can be heard on 610 Sports, with streaming audio on LISTEN

ARENA: Michael J. Hagan ‘85 Arena (4,200)
RADIO: 610 Sports- Matt Martucci, Joe Lunardi
HAWKS’ NEXT GAME: Dec. 30 vs. George Washington, 7 p.m., CSN

• Shavar Newkirk had 21 points but the Hawks lost at Illinois State, 81-72, to end their four-game road swing. Charlie Brown was the only other Hawk in double figures with 14 points. Nick Robinson had a season-best seven rebounds in his homecoming to Illinois.
• The Hawks have been led in scoring by Shavar Newkirk in seven games and by Lamarr Kimble three times.
• Saint Joseph’s current RPI is 54 (as of Dec. 20).
• SJU opens defense of its Atlantic 10 crown when it begins league play on Dec. 30, hosting George Washington

NO PLACE LIKE HOME: The Hawks are making their first appearance in Hagan Arena since Nov. 30 (loss to Temple), a stretch of four consecutive games in which they went 2-2. SJU is 2-1 at home thus far this year.

PRELUDE TO A HOLIDAY: Tonight’s game is what Phil Martelli calls the “toughest” game of the year to coach. As the last game before Christmas, the players have finished exams, campus is empty and it’s the players’ last game before going home for a short break. The Hawks have fared well in recent years, having won the last three in a row, but own an overall 12-9 record in Martelli’s 21 seasons.

SLOW STARTERS: A slow start doomed the Hawks at Illinois State, as they fell behind by 14 points at the half. SJU committed 12 turnovers and shot just 36 percent, while Illinois made 50 percent of its shots, and went 6-for-11 from behind the arc. The Hawks picked it up in the second half, but couldn’t overcome the deficit, losing 81-72.

CHARLIE IN CHARGE: Freshman Charlie Brown averaged 13.0 points and 5.5 rebounds in the Hawks’ two games last week, while shooting 46.2 percent (6-of-13) from three-point range. Brown cored 12 points and grabbed team-high 7 rebounds in win over Princeton and had 14 points at Illinois State, making a season-best 4-of-8 three-pointers.

HOLDING ON: At Princeton, Saint Joseph’s seemed to be holding a comfortable 10-point lead, but saw the Tigers take advantage of a seven-minute field goal drought and use a 10-0 run to tie the game. Princeton then went ahead, 64-61, before Shavar Newkirk broke the streak with a layup at 3:37. Consecutive baskets by Charlie Brown and Markell Lodge helped SJU regain the lead, 67-64. Four straight points from Nick Robinson expanded the lead to 71-64 and free throws by Newkirk and Lamarr Kimble iced the win.

STARRING SHAVAR: Shavar Newkirk scored the Hawks’ final 11 points to lift SJU to the win over Drexel and earn Big 5 Co-Player of the Week honors for Dec. 12. It marked the first Big 5 honors of his career. Newkirk’s scoring streak started with 4:27 to play, as his jumper forced a 63-63 tie. The junior connected on 3-of-3 field goals and 5-of-6 from the foul line in the final four minutes while his three-point play with 10.7 seconds left proved to be the deciding points. It was the second game-winning shot of his career as he hit a short jumper with one second left to give SJU a 66-64 win over Old Dominion in the 2015 Hall of Fame Tip-Off Classic.

WELL-GUARDED: Saint Joseph’s backcourt of Shavar Newkirk and Lamarr “Fresh” Kimble has combined to score 49 percent of the Hawks’ 641 points and have each exceeded their career-highs already this year. Newkirk had a career-high 28 points in the opener vs. Toledo, with Kimble bettering his career-high by scoring 16 points. Kimble then increased his personal best vs. Columbia with 19 points, and again with 26 points against Loyola Chicago. Newkirk has recorded 20-plus points in seven of 10 games. Last season, the duo split time at point guard so this is the first time they’re seeing significant playing time together.

INJURY UPDATE: Junior James Demery, who has been sidelined since Nov. 14 with a stress fracture, is out of his walking boot and doing cardio work. He is being evaluated weekly by doctors and could return to the practice court in a week or two. Freshman Lorenzo Edwards has been battling a shoulder injury and is out indefinitely.

BIG BOARDS: Saint Joseph’s dominated the boards at Princeton, outrebounding the Tigers, 58-34, in total rebounds and 19-7 on the offensive glass. It was the most total rebounds for SJU since the Hawks had 50 at St. Bonaventure on Jan. 14, 2009.

TWO-BY-TWO:  Phil Martelli has said that the Hawks need to make their two-point field goals for them to be successful. They are currently converting 45 percent (184-405) of their two-point field goals and 33.2 percent of their three-pointers. Saint Joseph’s is averaging 19.6 three-point field goal attempts per game.

LOOKING AHEAD: The Hawks get an extended break for Christmas and return to action on Dec. 30 with the A-10 opener against George Washington at Hagan Arena. SJU rings in the New  Year on Jan. 3 at Rhode Island