Jordan Hall and Ejike Obinna Set Career-High’s in Scoring for the Hawks in a 78 – 71 Victory
PHILADELPHIA, PA. 12/8/2021 –
The Saint Joseph’s Hawks got a good inside / outside combination on offense. They would need that to hold off a scrappy University of Pennsylvania Quakers team. The Hawks win it 78 – 71 and even their Big Five record at 1 – 1. It took the efforts of Jordan Hall (Mr. Outside) and Ejike Obinna (Mr. Inside) as the duo combined for 53 of the 78 Saint Joe’s points.
Hall scored a career-high 33 points and set a collegiate-best mark in made field goals and made three-pointers. Hall connected on 12 of 19 from the floor and 8 of 11 from behind the three-point line. The sophomore credited his effectiveness due to the inside presence and vision of Obinna.
“He is a mismatch problem,” Hall said. “When we give him the ball with his back to the basket, their whole team defense collapses. We’ve got shooters on the outside. He kicks it out or gets a bucket. He decided to do both today.”
On the inside Obinna set a collegiate scoring mark with 20 points and tied his made field goals best hitting 9 of 13 attempts. When Obinna gets the ball inside, it creates more opportunities for the Hawks outside game.
“That’s something we’ve been working on, being able to make those outside passes,” Obinna said. “Once we get it into the post, we feel like our best three-point shooting percentages is inside-out. It’s a much better rhythm. We expect teams to double me and we kick it out for them to make shots.”
Overall the Hawks 12 of 29 from beyond the arc (41.4%). Inside the arc SJU made 18 of 35 for 51.4%.
Many of the points came in bunches, which was needed to hold off many charges by the Quakers. Each player had 14 points at halftime, all but 9 of the SJU total at intermission. Their balance is making the Saint Joe’s offense more effective.
“One of the things we have to develop is an ability to get into the paint from the perimeter,” said Saint Joseph’s Coach Billy Lange. “What Obinna does is give us an ability to collapse the defense. If they feel like they have to double him, now some of those shots you need to get, on rhythm three’s, we’re able to get because he does that while we continue to try to help our guys continue to drive the basketball.”
Penn stayed in contention as Saint Joseph’s could not open a double-digit lead until late in the game. The Hawks led, but could not deliver the knock-out, until there was just under 12 minutes to play. The Red and Blue pulled to within 57 – 55 with 11:48 showing on the clock behind seven straight points by guard Jordan Dingle. Hall answered with a three-pointer starting the game-deciding 11 – 4 run where he had 8 of those points to open a 68 – 59 lead, their largest lead, with just over eight minutes remaining. Penn closed to within 74 – 70 with a minute left. SJU closed it out scoring 4 of the last 5 points in the game.
Dingle led Penn with a season-high 26 points, one shy of his career-high, making 11 of 19 from the field and 2 of 4 from deep. The sophomore guard has surpassed 20 points eight times this season, and has led the Quakers in scoring in ten of their eleven games.
“We know what Jordan can do,” said Penn Coach Steve Donahue. “He is really good making plays for others, and competing at a high-level. I thought he was terrific throughout the whole game. We’re probably wearing him out a little bit. Everybody is coming up with ways to try and stop him, and he is still playing very efficiently.”
The Red and Blue need more scoring punch, but Max Martz and Lucas Monroe delivered 12 points each.
Saint Joseph’s improves to 5 – 4. The Crimson and Gray are in the midst of three consecutive Big Five games. The next game is on Saturday when they host the Temple Owls.
Penn drops to 3 – 9. The Red and Blue is playing their city series games in a group of four straight, and now stand at 0 – 3. Their remaining Big Five game is also on Saturday at La Salle. Donahue sees the effort.
“I’m very disappointed in the result, but I thought our kids continued to compete,” Donahue said. “It’s not like we played well in terms of execution, but we compete.”
Written By: Glenn Papazian