January 18, 2021 –
The La Salle Explorers hosted city rival Saint Joseph’s Hawks for a nationally televised game on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The schools will continue the King Day series in the future to recognize and honor Dr. King’s legacy. Next year the game will be played on Hawk Hill.
On this day the Explorers game plan was to get the ball inside. They did against the halfcourt defense and on fast breaks to earn a 90 – 83 win at the Gola Arena. The victory snapped a three-game losing streak for La Salle, and the 90 points scored was a season-high in offensive output.
Forward Jared Kimbrough led the way scoring a career-high 24 points converting 12 of 13 field goal attempts, and added 6 rebounds. The junior came into the game averaging 3 points. This was a breakout game for Kimbrough and effort was the key.
“It feels great,” said Kimbrough. “Especially my teammates giving me the energy to keep going and playing harder. It felt great to play hard today.”
La Salle had a 58 – 42 advantage in points in the paint.
Early in the contest both teams played toe-to-toe. It may not have been pretty, but it was intense. You expected anything else? Midway through the first half the Hawks took a 31 – 21 lead. The Explorers defense began to create turnovers. The trend continued until La Salle took an 82 – 61 lead, their largest of the game. Over half of the SJU miscues came during that stretch.
“I thought that was a huge part of the game,” said La Salle Coach Ashley Howard. “We were down ten, then we were able to go on a run creating the turnovers, and got some easy baskets, and gave us the additional juice on defense to continue to play with the effort we needed to play with.”
The Explorers had a 23 – 16 advantage in points off 18 Hawks turnovers. The miscues led to run outs giving LSU a 32 – 19 edge in fast break points.
Saint Joseph’s ended the game on a 22 – 8 run over the last five and a half minutes to close the gap. The Hawks came back, but the hill was too steep to climb.
“There are two periods in in every game where we have to be more fundamental, a little bit more detailed, a little bit more aggressive,” said Saint Joseph’s Coach Billy Lange. “We have to grow through it, and I loved our fight at the end. That is what I continue to go to is that our team plays until the last second.”
Anwar Gill matched his Explorers career-high with 15 points. Guard Jhamir Brickus broke double-digits getting 10 points. All of the La Salle players who saw game action scored.
Jack Forrest set his single game-high in scoring 25 points for the Hawks. The sophomore transfer from Columbia made his first nine shots. His only miss was his last shot. Taylor Funk added 17. Jordan Hall recorded a double-double with 11 points and a career-mark 11 assists.
Saint Joseph’s (1 – 10, 0 – 5) travels to George Mason on Wednesday. La Salle improves to 6 – 8, 3 – 4, and will be off until Saturday when they play at Richmond happy to end the losing streak, and hoping to create a winning one.
“We needed a win and our guys figured out a way to get it done today,” Howard said.
Written By: Glenn Papazian