Lamarr Kimble scored a game-high 23 points and freshman Charlie Brown had a career-high 19 to lead Saint Joseph’s (9-9; 1-2 Big 5) to a 78-71 win over Penn (6-9; 0-3) in a Philadelphia Big 5 game before a near capacity crowd at The Palestra.
Kimble made 9-of-11 from the foul line while Brown had a personal best nine rebounds and made 7-of-8 free throws. James Demery added 15 points, including a 9-for-12 effort from the line, and Chris Clover added 10 points for SJU, which snapped a three-game losing streak.
Holding onto a 60-56 lead with 5:38 to play, the Hawks would convert 16-of-20 from the foul line in the final stretch to seal the win. SJU led by as much as 78-68 with six seconds left, but a three-pointer by Penn’s Darnell Foreman provided the final margin.
Saint Joseph’s, which entered the game shooting 65 percent from the line, made a season-best 31-of-43 free throws in the win.
Matt Howard led Penn (6-9; 0-3 Big 5) with 19 points and 12 rebounds with Ryan Betley scored 15 points. Foreman added 11 points for the Quakers.
Saint Joseph’s built up a 15-point lead in the first half, as Demery hit four consecutive free throws with over five minutes to go to put the Hawks up, 31-16. But Penn climbed back into it, outscoring SJU, 15-2, capped by a three-point play from Howard at 1:09 to bring the Quakers within, 33-31. The Hawks took a 35-31 lead into the lockerroom after a pair of free throws from Nick Robinson.
Penn rode that momentum into the second half, and used a three-pointer from Wood and a jumper from Howard to take a 36-35 lead, the Quakers’ first since 14:43 of the first half.
The Hawks answered back with a quick 11-2 run, paced by five points from Demery to go up, 46-38, and they would hold onto the lead the rest of the way.
Penn trimmed the deficit to three points three more times, 58-55, the last being at 7:12 on a layup by Foreman. After Brown hit a jumper to give Saint Joseph’s a six-point cushion, the Hawks started their procession to the foul line, as Javon Baumann started the spurt making a pair at 5:11 to put SJU ahead 62-56.
"We had seven turnovers, with three or four by the first media timeout, and then we played a cleaner game that way. Three-point defense - they were 8-for-32, and I thought the shots were challenged for the most part. Jai Williams made the biggest difference in the first half. He did a really nice job engaging,” said Saint Joseph’s coach Phil Martelli.
"We had open shots that we didn't make. We missed some really makeable shots and we come in here on a three-game losing streak, having had one-possession games where we just had to make that one shot. At some point you have to make a tough shot,” said Martelli.
Martelli added, “When you take a moment and think about it, you're in the best building in college basketball on a Saturday night. To think of the guys that have been on that sideline on a Saturday night, and to think that you have a small part and have played a small role in the history of this magnificent tradition, it caused you to pause and to be extremely grateful for the opportunity."
Neither team shot well from three-point range, with both hitting under 27 percent from the arc.
Penn led in the early going of the game, 10-6, but SJU went on a 12-2 run, taking an 18-12 lead on a three-pointer by Kimble.
Saint Joseph’s resumes Atlantic 10 play on Tuesday when it travels to St. Bonaventure.