Instant Replay: Richmond 70, St. Joe's 66

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Instant Replay: Richmond 70, St. Joe's 66


St. Joe's looked to avoid its second-straight loss Saturday afternoon against the University of Richmond, but fell just shy of its third Atlantic 10 win.
The Hawks found themselves in a hole early in the second half, but railed from an 18-point deficit to come within one point with a minute-and-a-half remaining. It would not be enough as Richmond would take a 70-66 victory.
What it means
The Hawks' loss to Richmond drops them to 8-8 overall and 2-3 in the Atlantic 10. 

Richmond won its fifth straight game moving the Spiders to 11-6 overall and a perfect 5-0 in A-10 play.

First half
The first half was tightly contested through the first 17 minutes, with neither team leading by more than six at any point. With just under three minutes left to play in the first half, a James Demery jumper brought the Hawks with one, but that would be the last basket St. Joe's would get before the halftime buzzer. Richmond mounted a 12-0 run to end the half and opened up a 41-28 lead.
Sophomore Lamar Kimble led the way for St. Joe's with 11 points, but no Hawks’ player would record more than one assist in the first half. Richmond, who leads the A-10 in assists per game with 16.8, held a 10-4 advantage in that category at halftime.
Turning Point
The Spiders opened the second half running a full-court press against the Hawks. 

St. Joe's, now down 48-35, would capitalize on two Charlie Brown jumpers and a Nick Robinson tip-in to bring their deficit to single digits. Kimble, Brown and Robinson combined to bring the Hawks back to within four points with just under 12 minutes left to play.
With just under 10 minutes to play, Richmond’s T.J. Cline would pick up his fourth foul, residing him to the bench and ridding the Spiders of their best playmaker.
However, Richmond’s offense would not miss a beat and find success from the guard tandem of ShawnDre’ Jones and De’Monte Buckingham.
The Hawks continued to battle and found themselves one point down with a minute remaining. Martelli’s squad could not find a way to match Richmond’s total and the Spiders’ strong free throw shooting would lift them to victory.
Big man on campus
T.J. Cline proved be an absolute nightmare matchup for Hawks’ defenders. His ability to score from both the post and behind the arc allowed him to fill the stat sheet, including seven of Richmond’s first 10 points.
Throughout the game, he was able to beat St. Joes with his passing when Martelli called for a double team. By the end of the first half, Cline had tallied five assists.
His final total would be 15 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists, giving him his second double-double in three games. He finished an assist shy of a triple double.
Despite Saturday's loss, St. Joe's still holds a 16-9 series advantage over the Spiders.
The Hawks won last season’s only matchup between the two conference rivals in Richmond’s Robins Center, 77-73. Two years ago, the Spiders toppled the Hawks, 63-57, in Philadelphia.
Up Next
St. Joe's will travel to the University of Massachusetts Wednesday night to face the Minutemen in its sixth conference bout of the season. UMASS holds an 11-6 overall record, but is only 1-3 in the A-10, good enough for 10th in the conference.
Richmond will take on Dayton on Thursday in a matchup of A-10 title contenders.

Villanova, Penn with polar opposite NCAA Tournament draws

Villanova, Penn with polar opposite NCAA Tournament draws

No surprises on the Main Line and well, the Quakers have quite the hill to climb to advance.

Villanova on Sunday night was awarded the 1-seed in the East Region and will face the winner of the LIU Brooklyn/Radford game Thursday in Pittsburgh. Tip-off is scheduled for 6:50 p.m. on TNT.

The Wildcats have been a top-two seed since 2014 and it's the second straight year they're a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Villanova was the No. 1 overall seed in last year's tournament.

Penn was named the 16th seed in the Midwest Region and will face the No. 1-seeded Kansas Jayhawks on Thursday at 2 p.m. on TBS in Wichita, Kansas.

Steve Donahue has the Quakers back in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2007 in his third season as Penn's head coach.

The Quakers are 24-8 and this will be their 24th-ever appearance in the tournament.

'Nova survived a scare from Providence on Saturday night to win its second straight Big East title and its third in the past four years.

If the Wildcats beat LIU Brooklyn/Radford, they'll face the winner of the No. 8-seeded Virginia Tech and No. 9 seed Alabama. Purdue is the No. 2 seed in the East.

Also in the East are No. 3 Texas Tech and No. 4 Wichita State.

Penn aims to end 11-year drought this weekend

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Penn aims to end 11-year drought this weekend

NBC Sports Philadelphia anchor/reporter Amy Fadool and senior producer Sean Kane get you set for all the weekend's local college basketball games with Fastbreak Friday. With the regular season ending this weekend, this will be the final Fastbreak Friday column of the season.

Temple (16-13, 8-9 AAC) at Tulsa (18-11, 11-6 AAC), Sunday at 3 p.m.
 It’s been a rough season for the Temple Owls. Yes, there was that win over ranked Wichita State in the middle of a 5-game win streak. But after the stumbles down the stretch, that seems like a distant memory. 

Of course, the bad can be washed away with an AAC tournament run, but first, the Owls need to close out on the road against Tulsa. 

Given their track record on the road, things don’t line up well for Fran Dunphy’s crew. Plus, it’s dollar dog, dollar soda and dollar popcorn night at Tulsa. That’s a delicious trifecta. 

But there is still some fight in this team. Quintin Rose and Shizz Alston have been everything the Owls have needed, and throw in Nate Pierre-Louis and you have a nice core back for next season.

Temple 71,  Tulsa 70

Pennsylvania (21-7, 11-1 Ivy) at Yale (14-14, 7-5 Ivy), Friday at 7 p.m.
Pennsylvania (21-7, 11-1 Ivy) at Brown (11-14, 4-8 Ivy), Saturday at 6 p.m.
Penn enters the final weekend of the regular season in control of its own destiny. If the Quakers beat Yale and Brown on the road they'll win their first Ivy League championship since 2007 and earn the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament, which will be played at the Palestra next weekend. It all adds up to Penn having the inside track to return to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 11 years.

This seems like an appropriate time to salute the job done by head coach Steve Donahue. In just his third season at Penn, he has the Quakers poised to reclaim top billing in the Ivy League. He inherited a team that finished 9-19 in the 2014-2015 season and promptly began a swift rebuilding project. Penn went 11-17 in Donahue's first season, 13-14 in his second year, and now stand at 21-7 overall and 11-1 in conference play. Look for those winning ways to continue this weekend and for Donahue and company to do some celebrating.

Penn 73, Yale 66
Penn 69, Brown 60

La Salle (13-17, 7-10 A-10) at St. Joseph's (14-15, 9-8 A-10), Saturday at 2 p.m.
La Salle and St. Joe's will each try to keep the good times rolling heading into next week's A-10 Tournament. La Salle has won three of its last four games, including a convincing 18-point win over Dayton earlier this week. St. Joseph's meanwhile has a 5-1 record in its last six games and just recorded arguably one of the most stunning victories of this college basketball season.

The Hawks went on the road and beat No. 18 Rhode Island, 78-48, on Tuesday, spoiling the Rams' senior night in the process. It was the first road win over a ranked team for St. Joseph's since 1979 and it came in shockingly easy fashion. I expect the Hawks to build on that momentum this weekend and avenge a three-point loss to La Salle earlier this season.

St. Joseph's 74, La Salle 68 

Drexel (12-19, 6-12 CAA) at James Madison (10-21, 6-12 CAA), Saturday at 4 p.m. in first round of CAA Tournament
The Dragons' season has been marked with highs and lows. While it may seem like a marginal improvement — with 12 wins to their credit compared to nine last season — they did double their conference win total. 

Also, Drexel beat the top two teams in the CAA this season as well as set an NCAA Division-I record for the largest comeback ever when they erased a 34-point deficit against Delaware. 

But the Dragons did have two separate losing streaks that would cause any coach to lose sleep, one of five straight and the other of four straight losses. 

Drexel begins the quest for its first-ever CAA tournament title against JMU, then Charleston awaits on basically home turf. Go ahead and make it a baker’s dozen, Dragons. 

Drexel 76, JMU 74

Prediction Records
Sean Kane: 30-11
Amy Fadool: 22-21