PHILADELPHIA, PA. 3/5/2019 – The two game winning streak for the Saint Joseph’s Hawks came to an end in their final regular season game at the Hagan Arena. The Hawks lost in overtime 86 – 85 to the Rhode Island Rams led by Philadelphian Fatts Russell who scored a career-high 41 points, and the last 19 for his team. He did it just by playing the game.
“I’m just in the moment letting things flow,” said Russell. “I’m not a big thinker, I’m a reactor.”
Rhode Island scored 9 points in the extra five minutes, all by Russell, from Imhotep Charter.
Saint Joe’s led 73 – 67 with 1:47 left in the second half when Russell started his run by hitting two free throws. He drained a three-pointer with just under a minute to play, then followed with 2 foul shots at the 26.3 second mark. It was a key play as Hawks forward Charlie Brown fouled out on that play. Saint Joe’s got two free throws from Lamarr Kimble at 19.3 to give the Hawks a 3-point lead. On the ensuing possession Russell calmly drained a three with 5.5 seconds showing on the scoreboard.
Kimble had a last shot, but his long three-point attempt rolled off the rim. He scored a team-high 19 points, and had two chances to tie the game in the last 30 seconds of overtime, but could not connect.
“It was tough,” said Kimble. “I didn’t make the plays that I should have. That was my part of the bargain.”
“We were too fast on offense in overtime,” said Saint Joseph’s Coach Phil Martelli. “Instead of probing and finding, we were too fast collectively.”
The Rams came into the game at the bottom of the Atlantic 10 in three-point shooting. In this game they made 11 of 26 attempts from beyond the arc, while the Hawks were good on 11 of 36. Russell had 7 of 13 of the URI attempts from distance. For the game he went 12 of 24 from the floor and made 10 of 16 free throws.
URI is the leading offensive rebounding team in the country, but got only 6. The Hawks won the rebounding battle 39 – 45, 12 – 6 on the offensive glass.
Guard Jeff Dowtin scored 23 points, converting half of his 6 shots from three-point land.
SJU had four other players score in double figures. Jared Bynum scored a team-high 19 points and dished out a game-high 7 assists. Chris Clover had 14 points and 9 rebounds. Brown posted 13 points and 9 rebounds, and Taylor Funk contributed 12 points.
The season may be rolling to a close, but this was a meaningful games. For the Saint Joseph’s Hawks (13 – 17, 6 – 11) it is a matter of getting all their players on the floor again. And there is the seeding for the Atlantic 10 Tournament. The Hawks wanted to improve or keep their present place in the standings, which started out tied for 10th which avoided an opening round game. They dropped to 11th place in the current standings, a half -game behind Richmond. The Rhode Island Rams (15 – 14, 8 – 9) occupy sole possession of 8th place. SJU goes to VCU on Friday to finish the regular season. Those Rams clinched the regular season title.
“The problem with losing like this is that the punch lasts a long time,” Martelli said. “We’re going down there and playing a team that is now playing for a seeding in the NCAA Tournament, and a national ranking. If they beat us they will be nationally ranked and they should be.”
Written By: Glenn Papazian