Saint Joseph's (10-15; 3-10 A-10) heads to local rival La Salle (13-11; 7-6) for an Atlantic 10 and Big 5 game on Saturday. The 4 p.m. game from Gola Arena will be televised nationally on the CBS Sports Network.
The Saint Joseph's Sports Network will broadcast the game on 610 Sports with streaming audio on SJUHawks.com.
ARENA: Tom Gola Arena (3,400)
TELEVISION: CBSSN (Dave Ryan, Tom Pecora, Jon Rothstein)
RADIO: 610 Sports (Matt Martucci, Joe Lunardi)
AUDIO STREAMING: SJUHawks.com - LISTEN
VIDEO STREAMING: None
HAWKS’ NEXT GAME: Feb. 22 vs. St. Bonaventure, 7 p.m., A10N
• VCU held off Saint Joseph's, 91-81, in the Hawks' first game without leading scorer Lamarr Kimble. Chris Clover tied his career-high with 21 points, Charlie Brown added 19 and James Demery had 17 points and 11 rebounds. Brendan Casper had a career-high 13 points.
• Today’s game counts in the Big 5 standings. SJU won the first meeting with the Explorers on Jan. 28, but that was an Atlantic 10 game only.
• Junior James Demery celebrates his 22nd birthday today.
• Charlie Brown, the A-10 Rookie of the Week (Feb. 13), leads the Hawks in scoring in A-10 games with 13.8 ppg.
• The Hawks are in the midst of a five-game losing streak, which is the longest since a nine-game skid in January 2011.
• Next up for SJU is a home game with St. Bonaventure on Feb. 22.
• La Salle has lost two in a row, and three of its last four. The Explorers are led in scoring by B.J. Johnson (18.0) and Jordan Price (16.4). Pookie Powell (13.1) returned to action on Wednesday after missing six games with an injury.
LAST TIME OUT: VCU held off Saint Joseph's, 91-81, at the sold-out Siegel Center, in the Hawks' first game without leading scorer Lamarr Kimble. Chris Clover tied his career-high with 21 points for while Charlie Brown added 19 on 5-for-9 shooting. James Demery had a double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds while Brendan Casper scored a career-high 13 points off the bench for SJU. Freshman Nick Robinson started at point guard and had seven points and five assists. Leading 48-44 at halftime, VCU began the second half with a 7-0 run to open up its biggest lead of the game, 55-44, with 17:39 to play. SJU cut it to 57-54 on a three-pointer by Brown, but JeQuan Lewis answered with his eighth three of the game to put the Rams up 60-54. His ninth three of the game pushed the Rams’ lead to 70-62. Trailing 74-64, the Hawks remained in it, despite going without a field goal for close to five minutes before Clover ended it at 4:50 to pull SJU within, 74-68. Saint Joseph’s had one more run and came within 82-76 with 1:01 to go, but it became a game of free throws and VCU converted 9-of-10 in the final minute to secure the win. The first half was nip and tuck with the teams trading leads (13) and ties (7). VCU held its biggest lead of the half, 14-9, at 14:06, but the Hawks fought back and led by as much as five, 23-18, after a pair of free throws by Robinson at 7:21. VCU’s Lewis hit six of the Rams’ eight three-pointers in the first half, including one that broke a 44-44 tie with 30 seconds remaining, as they took a 48-44 lead at halftime.
LAST TIME VS. LA SALLE: Lamarr Kimble hit the gamewinner with 15.8 seconds to go to lift Saint Joseph’s to a 73-72 win over La Salle at Hagan Arena. With 35.3 seconds remaining the Hawks inbounded to Kimble, who took it to the right elbow and pulled up for the winning jumper. Kimble finished the game with 14 points, making 3-of-5 from three-point range. Chris Clover had a career-high 21 points, shooting 8-for-11 from the field, 4-of-5 from three-point range. James Demery had 13 points and 10 rebounds, Charlie Brown scored 15 points and Jai Williams had a career-high eight rebounds. (full recap on page 21)
KEY TO THE CITY: This is the final Big 5 game of the year for Saint Joseph’s, as the Hawks have defeated Penn but lost to Temple and Villanova thus far. Saint Joseph’s has won 20 Big 5 titles (9 outright/11 shared), which is third all-time to Temple’s 27 titles (6/21 shared). Last year, SJU went 3-1 in the Big 5, losing only to Villanova.
WORKING FOR A CAUSE: Phil Martelli and John Gianinni are involved with the Philadelphia Coaches vs. Cancer effort, which is one of the nation’s highest fundraising groups for Coaches vs. Cancer. The group, which is comprised of the city’s six Division I coaches and their wives, raised over $1 million last year. Martelli is the co-chair of the local group and is also the chair of the National Coaches vs. Cancer Council.
HEART OF A HAWK: Saint Joseph’s went into VCU without their two point guards and leading scorers but gave the first-place Rams all they could handle before suffering the 91-81 loss. The Hawks committed 15 turnovers but saw VCU give it away 13 times. SJU shot 57.6 percent from the field in the first half, but VCU’s 10-of-19 effort from three-point range made the difference as the Rams held a 44-40 halftime lead. VCU opened the second half with a run and took an 11-point lead. The Hawks trimmed it to three points, but that was the closest they would get the rest of the way.
THE HITS KEEP COMING: You can pick from any number of terms - snakebitten, unlucky, cursed, jinxed - and they could all describe what SJU has faced this year with injuries. The latest blow was that leading scorer Lamarr Kimble is sidelined for the rest of the season after sustaining a fracture in his foot during the Hawks’ loss to Massachusetts (Feb. 11). He has a fracture in the fifth metatarsal of his left foot which will require surgery and two months of recovery. Kimble, a sophomore point guard, led the Hawks in scoring with 15.5 points per game, as well as assists with 4.5 per game. He scored double figures in 19 games, with five games of 20 points or more. This is the second season-ending injury to a Hawks’ leading scorer and point guard as junior Shavar Newkirk suffered a torn ACL on December 30 after leading SJU with a career-best 20.3 scoring average. Kimble is also the fourth SJU player to be sidelined for the year as sophomore Pierfrancesco Oliva was declared out for the year in June because of a chronic knee condition that required surgery. Freshman forward Lorenzo Edwards also underwent shoulder surgery in December because of a recurring injury. “We’re obviously disappointed for ‘Fresh’. We’ll certainly miss his on the court skills and do expect, as Shavar has done, that he will continue to be prominent in a leadership role. Speaking for the program, we’re all disappointed but not discouraged. Our challenge now is to exemplify ‘the Hawk will never die’ spirit,” said coach Phil Martelli. This marks the most number of significant injuries in Martelli’s 22 years at Saint Joseph’s.
DEPLETED SQUAD: SJU is now down to 13 healthy players, nine of which are scholarship players.
TOP ROOKIE: Charlie Brown was named the Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Week on Feb. 13 for the third time this year. He averaged 16.0 points and 6.5 rebounds in two games, while making eight three-pointers.
TO THE POINT: Lamarr Kimble’s injury has pressed Nick Robinson into point-guard duties for the Hawks and he made his debut at VCU. The freshman played 37 minutes, scored seven points and matched his career-high with four assists. Senior Brendan Casper served as the backup point guard and scored a career-high 13 points.
DEMERY’S DOUBLES: James Demery, the oldest player in the starting lineup, recorded his third double-double of the season with 17 points and 11 rebounds at VCU.
LONGTIME HAWK: Assistant coach Mark Bass is the nation’s third longest-tenured assistant coach at one school with 18 years. He is tied with Brian Dutcher of San Diego State. The only assistants who have been at one place longer are Mike Hopkins of Syracuse (21) and Brian Ayers of Belmont (19).
LOOKING AHEAD: Saint Joseph’s has two home games remaining, with the first on Feb. 22 vs. St. Bonaventure. The Hawks will follow that with a trip to Saint Louis on Feb. 25 before taking on Rhode Island in the home finale on March 1. Saint Joseph’s closes out the year at Duquesne on March 5.