Shavar Newkirk was simply not going to let Drexel beat him.
The junior guard poured in 27 points, including his team’s final 11, and came through with a game-winning three-point play to lift Saint Joseph’s to a dramatic 72-71 win over the host Dragons on Sunday night at the Daskalakis Athletic Center.
Rodney Williams scored a career-high 29 points for the Dragons (4-5), who led for most of the game as they looked to snap the program’s four-game losing skid to the Hawks.
But trailing by 11 early in the second half, the Hawks (4-4) went on a 16-3 run to take a 54-52 lead with 9:51 left. From there, there were five ties before Tyshawn Miles scored two buckets — his only two of the game — to put Drexel up 71-67 with two minutes left.
Newkirk then took over, hitting a pair of free throws to pull St. Joe’s within two and scoring an acrobatic layup while getting fouled to tie the game with 10.7 seconds left. After his game-winning free throw bounced high off the rim and dropped in, the Hawks had two blocks in the closing seconds to preserve the win and snap a four-game losing streak.
Big men on campus
Williams had his first double-double of the season and the sixth of his career, adding 10 rebounds to go with his 29 points. Freshman point guard Kurk Lee formed a nice inside-out partnership with him, finishing with 16 points and six assists.
Newkirk had seven rebounds and four assists to go along with his 27 points. His fellow standout guard Lamarr Kimble finished with 16 points while Brendan Casper had 10.
By the numbers
There were 49 total fouls; Drexel shot 16 for 25 from the free throw line while St. Joe’s shot 19 for 30.
St. Joe’s shot 3 for 18 from three-point range for the game.
Drexel shot 41.7 percent from three-point range in the first half and just 15.4 percent in the second half.
The Dragons got out to a hot start, drilling four early three-pointers to take a 16-7 lead.
Following a brief stoppage in play due to a clock issue, St. Joe’s got back into the game, riding six straight points from Casper to pull within three.
Williams, who finished with 14 first-half points, then scored the next points for the Dragons to put Drexel up 25-16. But the Hawks again prevented the hosts from pulling away, going into halftime trailing only 38-34 after Kimble sparked a rally and Newkirk hit a jumper at the first-half buzzer.
Both teams were missing key players as Miles Overton sat out for Drexel while James Demery missed his seventh straight game for St. Joe’s with a stress fracture.
Drexel hits the road to face Rider on Friday.
St. Joe’s has a tough matchup at Ivy League favorite Princeton on Wednesday.