Senior Chris Clover scored a game-high 19 points, and Lamarr Kimble had 18, to lead Saint Joseph’s to a 72-62 win over La Salle In Atlantic 10 action at Hagan Arena on SJU’s “Senior Day”.
Clover shot 7-for-10 from the field and tallied 12 in the second half as the Hawks led for all but two minutes in the contest. Freshman Jared Bynum scored 11 points in the win that moved SJU to 13-16 and 6-10 in the conference.
Kimble got the Hawks off to a flying start as he scored 14 of the Hawks’ first 22 points, but was plagued with foul trouble the rest of the way, seeing just 24 minutes of action in first start since being injured on January 12.
Leading 33-29 at halftime, the Hawks outscored the Explorers, 14-2 in the first six minutes of the second half to open up a 47-31 lead at 14:50. Clover, Troy Holston and Lorenzo Edwards each contributed a three-pointer in the spurt. Saint Joseph’s took its biggest lead of the game, 49-32, just two minutes later on a pair of free throws by Charlie Brown.
The Hawks maintained control and La Salle didn’t come any closer than eight points, 65-57, with 1:47 to play in the game that saw the teams whistled for a combined 47 fouls. La Salle shot 29-for-32 from the line while SJU was 22-for-32.
La Salle took a brief 22-21 lead with 5:05 left in the first half, but the Hawks scored seven straight points to regain the lead, 28-22, and never relinquished it.
"We played aggressive, on-the-ball defense. For us to have 10 steals... we're not a 'steal' team. We don't emphasize that. In the first half, Fresh [Kimble] got us to where we felt comfortable,” said SJU coach Phil Martelli. "Today, we stayed with it, but 66 percent from the foul line is not a formula for advancing in this league. And we had eight second-half turnovers too."
La Salle played its second straight game without leading scorer Pookie Powell, and was topped in scoring by Saul Phiri with 17 points. Isiah Deas had 13 and David Beatty had 11 rebounds as the Explorers held a 42-29 edge on the glass.
"The defensive approach was very good. But we played a wounded team. We're not giving the win back... and now we move on. We haven't won two in a row since the end of December and haven't won three in a row since the beginning of November. We'll be back in there working at it again tomorrow,” said Martelli.
Saint Joseph’s honored its seniors today despite still having one more home game set for Tuesday vs. Rhode Island. Clover was recognized in the pre-game ceremony along with Markell Lodge, Pierfrancesco Oliva and Mike Muggeo.
SJU will close out the regular season on March 8 at VCU in the A-10 ESPN Friday Night Showcase before heading to the Atlantic 10 Championship at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, March 13-17.