Lamarr Kimble scored 24 of his career-high tying 31 points in the second half, as Saint Joseph's rallied from a 13-point deficit to defeat UIC, 89-75, at Hagan Arena. The win snapped a three-game losing streak for the Hawks (4-3).
Charlie Brown, Jr., finished with 19 points while freshman Jared Bynum hit for a season-high 17 for Saint Joseph’s. Pierfrancesco Oliva had 13 rebounds for his fourth double-figure rebounding game of the season, while adding three steals and two blocks.
It was the second 31-point effort in three games for Kimble, as he previously set his career-high against West Virginia on November 18. The performance also marked the third time in as many games that a Hawk scored 30 points or more, with Brown totaling 37 at William & Mary last weekend.
The Hawks trailed, 55-42, with 15:39 to play in the second half, but three-pointers from Taylor Funk and Kimble started a 12-0 run. Saint Joseph’s would outscore the Flames, 18-2, during the six-minute stretch, led by 13 from Kimble, to take its first lead of the half, 60-57, with 9:50 to play.
It was the second 31-point effort in three games for Kimble, as he previously set his career-high against West Virginia on November 18. The performance was also the third time in as many games that a Hawk scored 30 points or more, with Brown totaling 37 at William & Mary last weekend.
UIC tied the game three more times, but Saint Joseph’s sealed the victory with a 16-3 run as the Flames missed five shots in a row. A deep three-pointer by Funk put SJU up 79-68 at 2:35 and Bynum made two free throws to give SJU an 81-68 lead with 2:16 remaining.
"The second-half defense, with 35 points, we just have to get harder defensively. We've got to get some pop from our depth and really, Fresh [Kimble] threw that on his back. Not only did he score, but he guarded (Tarkus) Ferguson, who is their main guy. But yesterday's practice, in the first half, were a bunch of guys wanting somebody to say that I feel sorry for Saturday. They wanted us to tell them that that didn't really happen, up by 20 and then lost the game. You have to go in here in order for us to be what we're capable of. We have tomorrow to prepare for a game on Saturday. It'll have to be better played," said Hawk coach Phil Martelli.
Brown was the main source of the Hawks’ offense in the first half, as he scored 14 points. Saint Joseph’s led briefly by a point in the half but UIC owned its biggest lead of the half, 40-32, at intermission.
Marcus Ottey had 23 points and 10 rebounds for UIC (3-4), while Jordan Blount scored 14.
Saint Joseph's made 36-of-41 from the line in the game and committed just seven turnovers. Kimble and Brown combined to go 17-for-20 from the foul line.
Saint Joseph’s remains home and will host Big 5 rival Temple on Saturday evening at 5:30 p.m.