PHILADELPHIA, PA. 1/15/2019 – The Saint Joseph’s Hawks came into the game minus two players that were starters at the beginning of the season in Pierfrancesco “Checco” Oliva and leading scorer Lamarr “Fresh” Kimble, the team leading scorer. The task was even greater facing the Davidson Wildcats who came into the game tied for the lead in the Atlantic 10.
It would take a team effort, and a wounded Hawk showed themselves to be a dangerous Hawk as Saint Joseph’s got stops in the last 27 seconds to get a 61 – 60 win at the Hagan Arena.
“It was a team win, ” said Hawks guard Chris Clover. “The guys were prepared, made shots and played defense. We say next guy up. Fresh went down, Checco went down, so guys had to step up and did that. And we got the win as a team.”
The Hawks got a season-high 18 points from Chris Clover, a senior guard, who had the game-winning three-point shot with 59 seconds to play.
Many players had to contribute to the win, and did. Saint Joseph’s got a career-high 9 assists, and 7 rebounds, 12 points from freshman guard Jared Bynum. Fellow freshman guard Troy Holston scored in double figures for the first time in his collegiate career getting 11 points making 3 from beyond the arc, also a career-best. Kimble had been the player making the big shots. In this game others did.
Clover was involved defensively on the last possession where Davidson had three chances to take the lead, but no shots fell. Two shots were by Kellan Grady, an Atlantic 10 preseason first teamer. Clover was on him.
“I took that upon myself and did what I was supposed to do,” Clover said about the last defensive stand. “I could get this stop, I was confident in my defensive capabilities. I knew I could get a stop and this was a win we needed.”
Over the last ten minutes there were 9 lead changes and 2 ties. Each basket was a factor. The Hawks needed to respond and did.
“We competed and communicated better defensively,” said Saint Joseph’s Coach Phil Martelli about how the team handled that situation. “We got to the point where we had to go with four guards. They a nice job of communicating the switching. But, I think we left shots out there.”
For Davidson Jon Axel Gudmunsson had a team-best 14 points, and Luke Frampton came alive and got 13 points. Grady contributed 11.
Saint Joseph’s improves to 8 – 9, and got their first Atlantic 10 win against 4 defeats. They also broke a four-game losing streak. Davidson is 12 – 5, 3 – 1 in conference. The game was statistically even, but the Hawks had the edge on the scoreboard.
It’s back on the road for SJU as they will play the Saint Louis Billikens in Missouri on Friday.
“It’s a step, small step,” Martelli said. “When you’re down and out, you’ve been body slammed, we picked ourselves up and took a small step.”
Written By: Glenn Papazian