Saint Joseph’s Wins King Day Contest Over La Salle

The Hawks Win Their First Atlantic 10 Game of the Season

PHILADELPHIA, PA. 1/15/2024 –

The Hawks and the Explorers continued their Martin Luther King, Jr. Day game. Today was a doubleheader where the women’s teams played in the opening game. The holiday rivalry continues that was started four years ago.

In this game it was Saint Joseph’s who snapped a three-game Atlantic 10 losing streak with a 82 – 62 win over La Salle at the Hagan Arena. The Hawks had four players scoring in double figures led by freshman guard Xzavier Brown who scored a game-high 19 points making 5 of 9 from the floor and 4 of 6 from beyond the arc. Brown was a perfect 5 for 5 from the free throw line.

A City Game

This was not an official Big Five game, but it was a city game and that had importance for Brown.

“To me it’s a lot especially growing up in the city,” said Brown. “You hear stories about all the schools. We didn’t get to play them in the Big Five, but it was definitely a city game. You could feel it in the atmosphere too. It was fun to get this one.

Flow of the Game

Saint Joseph’s got off to a fast start and took a 19 – 2 lead early. The Hawks made the Explorers play uphill right from the start. During the first six and a half minutes the Explorers missed their initial six shots.

“It started with our defensive intensity,” said Reynolds II. “We came into the game really emphasizing attacking it on the defensive end. I think we showed that as a team.”

But La Salle would make numerous charges at St. Joe’s cutting the lead to 49 – 40 with 14:39 on the clock. The Hawks answered with a 9 – 2 run to lead 60 – 43 with just under eleven and a half minutes to play. The gap was cut to a dozen and minute and a half later. True to the course of the game SJU would stretch the lead. The team had to stay focused.

“I think it’s us being intentional about that,” Brown said. “We had leads in our last four games and we let them come back by being casual. We were being very intentional by not taking our foot off the gas. We just focused on making every possession hard for them and getting a good shot on offense.”

“We put ourselves in a hole which didn’t help us,” said La Salle Coach Fran Dunphy. “We fought back and cut it to thirteen at the end of the half, and got it to nine at one point. We needed to make great decisions at that stretch and probably didn’t. We had some plays we got to do a better job on.”

What the Numbers Say

In addition to Brown, Reynolds II scored 15 points. The Hawks front court of Rasheer Fleming and Christ Essandoko added 13 points each making a combined 10 of 19 field goal attempts. Fleming added 12 rebounds for his third double-double of the season.

The Hawks had 45 – 24 edge in caroms.

The La Salle guard combination headed the team with Khalil Brantley scoring 16 points and Jhamir Brickus getting 10. Andres Marrero broke double-digits with 15 points. La Salle turned the ball over just 4 times, a positive said Coach Dunphy.

The Explorers played without Anwar Gill.

Up Next

SJU stands at 1 – 3 in the league. LSU is 1 – 4, 10 – 8 overall and hosts Dayton next Tuesday. Saint Joseph’s (11 – 6) concludes a three-game homestand against Duquesne on Saturday.

The King Day Rivalry

Hawks coach Billy Lange and Ashley Howard started the contest on this day. Each team wore warm up shirts to commemorate Dr. King. The meaning of the game is of great overall important to Lange.

“It’s an honor to play on Martin Luther King Day,” said Lange. “I want to thank Ashley Howard and Brian Baptiste for helping get this off the ground.”

“Outside of the Lord, I don’t know if there has been a more courageous man that’s ever walked the face of this earth outside of Dr. Martin Luther King. His visions and and his ideals are worth continuing to pursue. His legacy continues to be honored. What does a game do? When people tune in and they see MLK across the t-shirts and they see players congratulating each other, and they see that type of brotherhood. If it just changes one mind when it comes to relationships in our country and our world. Then we’re living out a life of service like Dr. King asked us to do.”


Written By: Glenn Papazian


Xzavier Brown Going to the Basket

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