VILLANOVA, Pa. – Lamarr Kimble scored 15 points and Shavar Newkirk added 11 more, but the Saint Joseph's men's basketball team fell at second-ranked Villanova, 88-57, in a Big 5 matchup in front of a sellout crowd at The Pavilion on Saturday afternoon.
The Hawks held a 27-24 lead with six minutes remaining in the first half, but the Wildcats (8-0; 2-0 Big 5) answered with a 20-4 run to close out the period with a 44-31 lead.
Kimble and Newkirk topped the Hawks in scoring while Markell Lodge added a career-high 10 rebounds for SJU (3-4; 0-2 Big 5), which has lost its last four in a row.
Villanova kept the momentum going and opened up the second half with a 10-4 run to expand the margin to 55-35 at 16:54. The Hawks cut the deficit to under 20 points only two more times, and trailed 63-44 with 10:27 to play.
A dunk by Darryl Reynolds at 3:19 gave Villanova its biggest lead of the afternoon, 86-52.
Kris Jenkins scored 20 for Villanova and Josh Hart added a triple double with 16 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists.
In the first half, Villanova led 12-6 on a three by Josh Hart but the Hawks stayed close and took a 23-22 lead at 8:50 on a three-pointer by Newkirk. SJU took its only other lead of the game, 37-24, at 6:06 after consecutive baskets by Lodge and Kimble. The Hawks then went without a basket for four minutes as Villanova built up its lead. A dunk by Lodge ended the drought and trimmed the Wildcats’ lead to 38-29 at 2:07.
“The plan was to have them go over the top of us, not through us. Their numbers on two-point shooting coming in was extraordinary – not that their 3-point shooting was poor. But they certainly played with a rhythm and a poise. We never hurried them or made them go faster,” said SJU coach Phil Martelli. “We wanted to avoid the spurts like at the end of the half when we scored eight points in eight minutes. Those spurts will get you. We wanted to play the game in segments and we weren’t able to do that in that segment.”
“The thing we really have to zero in on is our two-point shooting. We just shot 16-for-47 on two’s. When you’re playing this level game, you have to make those shots. I’ve got to look at what we practice and how we practice,” said the coach. “We’re not a three-point shooting team so we have to make our two’s and we didn’t. We were 9-for-21 in the first half. That’s where it’s going to be for us. We’re going to have to make the two’s.”
Saint Joseph's gets a break during the final week of classes and returns to action on December 11, when it visits Drexel.