NCAA

Lamarr Kimble delivers game-winning jumper for St. Joe's over La Salle

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Lamarr Kimble delivers game-winning jumper for St. Joe's over La Salle

BOX SCORE

It didn’t matter that it wasn’t an official Big 5 game. Two Philadelphia teams were playing on Saturday night and Philly kid Lamarr “Fresh” Kimble wanted the ball in his hands in the final seconds.

“I live for that type of moment,” Kimble said. 

The sophomore guard will remember the moment for a long time as he buried the game-winning jumper with 15 seconds left to lead Saint Joseph’s to a dramatic 73-72 win over La Salle in an Atlantic 10 matchup Saturday night at Hagan Arena (see Instant Replay).

“He’s a kid who loves Philadelphia games,” St. Joe’s coach Phil Martelli said. 

Kimble, a former star at Neumann-Goretti High, has certainly played well against Big 5 rivals, pouring in 23 points in a win over Penn last week after previously scoring 12 and 15 against Temple and Villanova, respectively. (Mark your calendar for when Kimble and the Hawks play La Salle again on Feb. 18 — the game that will count toward the Big 5 standings).

But things haven’t been all peachy this season for Kimble, who’s had to carry a big load after backcourt-mate Shavar Newkirk suffered a season-ending knee injury and the Hawks sputtered to a 2-5 mark in his absence heading into Saturday’s game. And Kimble, too, has struggled with his midrange game at times, as he tries to develop into a more complete college basketball player.

All of that made the sophomore’s game-winning shot from the elbow even more gratifying.

“I guess today I really wanted to will that shot in,” Kimble said. “That’s kind of the approach I took. We’ve been losing a lot — and games at the end too. For us to turn it around and be able to come out with a win in a tight game against a good team, that’s a great win.”

Martelli was less enthusiastic about the victory, lamenting many aspects of his team’s performance, particularly their “awful” free throw shooting; the Hawks shot 9 for 17 from the line.

But he was glad to see Kimble, only the third sophomore captain in program history, to step up when his team needed him most.

“He hasn’t made that shot,” Martelli said. “We’ve talked to him a lot about his eyes being on the rim. His eyes are always down and he’s been short-arming things. … But he’s well-received by his teammates and I’m glad he has the keys to the house, so to speak.”

After Kimble put the Hawks ahead by one, it was Jordan Price’s turn to try to hit a big shot of his own. But the La Salle star, who had scored 21 points and 16 points in the second half, missed at the buzzer after getting into the lane.

“I’m really appreciative of the crowd,” Martelli said. “We were the home team and the ball didn’t go in for them on the last play.”

It was a good look, though.

“A one foot shot?” La Salle coach John Giannini said. “I like a one-foot shot.”

Price also missed a shot on the previous possession with La Salle clinging to a one-point lead. But Giannini was mostly upset with some turnovers and “foolish fouls” down the stretch after a rough first half when Price only had five points and few other players were able to get going as the Explorers fell behind by eight en route to their third straight loss.

“I thought we were atrocious in the first half,” the La Salle coach said. “I thought in the second half we really played well. But we have to understand what goes into winning close games.”

The Hawks, who are trying to climb up from near the bottom of the Atlantic 10 standings, still need to learn more about winning close games, too. But they took a big step in that direction as sophomore Chris Clover (21 points), freshman Charlie Brown (15 points) and junior James Demery (13 points) joined Kimble (14 points) in double figures in what was one of the team’s most balanced efforts of the season.

The play of Clover was especially promising considering the former St. Joseph’s Prep star and Philadelphia Catholic League MVP only scored 10 points during his entire freshman campaign and hadn’t scored more than 11 points in any game this season.

Until Saturday when he surpassed his career high midway through the first half and set the Hawks on their way to a big city win.

“Chris’ confidence is rising every game and we’re confident in him,” said Kimble of his old Philadelphia Catholic League rival. “He could do big things as seen today. He’s capable of scoring and going on a run like that. For him to come out and produce like that in his first breakout game, I’m definitely happy for him.”

Sliding Temple visits Army; Penn hosts Yale in need of Ivy win

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Sliding Temple visits Army; Penn hosts Yale in need of Ivy win

Temple (3-4, 1-3 AAC) at Army (5-2)
Michie Stadium, West Point, New York
Saturday, noon, CBS Sports Network

Last time out
Temple lost to UConn, 28-24, last Saturday.

Army beat Eastern Michigan, 28-27, last Saturday.

Scouting report
Last week against UConn, the Owls committed 12 penalties for 117 yards. Despite putting up 229 more yards and 13 more first downs than the Huskies, Temple couldn’t finish drives late in the game to pull out the win.

Temple’s schedule doesn’t get easier this week. The Owls play an Army team riding a three-game win streak and boasting the second-best rushing offense in college football (378.4 ypg). That will be the matchup to watch as Temple averages 167.1 rushing yards allowed per game, good for seventh in the American Athletic Conference.

Temple’s starting quarterback Logan Marchi missed some practice time this week, but head coach Geoff Collins said he expects him to play on Saturday. If he can’t go, look for backup Frank Nutile to replace him.

What it means
Temple’s performance against UConn was embarrassing, while the Owls' bowl hopes would take a severe hit with a loss to Army. Tulsa and Cincinnati are the only other opponents on the schedule against which Temple should be favored. Navy and UCF, on paper, look to be tough matchups for the Owls.

Series history
Temple owns the 7-5 series advantage and is 6-1 against Army since 2008. That one loss came last year when the Black Knights beat the Owls, 28-13, at Lincoln Financial Field in Temple’s season opener. 

What's next?
Temple has its bye before hosting Navy on Nov. 2.

Army travels to Air Force. 

Penn (2-3, 0-2 Ivy) vs. Yale (4-1, 1-1 Ivy)
Franklin Field
Saturday, 1 p.m., NBC Sports Philadelphia+


Last time out
Penn lost at Columbia in overtime, 34-31, last Saturday.

Yale defeated Holy Cross, 32-0, last Saturday.

Scouting report
Penn has the worst scoring defense in the Ivy League, which doesn’t bode well for its chances in this one considering Yale has the best scoring offense in the league. The Quakers allow 32.6 ppg and the Bulldogs score 41 ppg. Penn’s total defense is also last in the league allowing 449.2 ypg.

The Bulldogs take control on the ground with the best rushing offense in the Ivy. Zane Dudek and Deshawn Salter lead the Bulldogs, as both have rushed for more than 400 yards and each has seven touchdowns. Penn will have to win the battle in the trenches to slow down the Bulldogs.

Series history
This is the 84th meeting between the teams. The Bulldogs hold a 46-37-1 advantage but Penn has won 19 of the last 25.

What’s next?
Penn travels to Brown.

Yale hosts Columbia.

Temple-UConn observations: Despite valiant effort from Marchi, Owls lose 1st homecoming game since 2008

Temple-UConn observations: Despite valiant effort from Marchi, Owls lose 1st homecoming game since 2008

BOX SCORE

That’s why football is a week-to-week game. Forget about momentum.

Temple found that out the hard way. After coming alive in a big road win over East Carolina last week, the Owls were humbled when a fourth-quarter rally fell short Saturday in a 28-24 homecoming loss to Connecticut at Lincoln Financial Field.

The Owls had one final shot at the victory with a drive in the final minute, but a Logan Marchi heave to the end zone was broken up.

The loss dropped Temple back under .500 at 3-4 (1-3 American Athletic Conference). UConn moved to 2-5 (2-2) with the victory.

• Say what you want about Temple quarterback Marchi (and you surely will after this game), but the guy is a fighter. Whether things are going his way or not, he continues to try to search for his receivers and attempt to squeeze the ball into those windows on the field. He made it two consecutive games with 300-plus yards passing as he was 33 of 54 for 356 yards with one touchdown and one interception Saturday.

• The game marked Temple’s first homecoming loss in nearly a decade. TU hadn’t suffered a homecoming defeat since a 7-3 loss to Western Michigan on Sept. 27, 2008. On that day, former Eagles DB Jaiquawn Jarrett was beaten in coverage on a double move in the third quarter for the game’s lone touchdown. Coming into Saturday, the Owls had won eight straight homecoming matchups by an average margin of 19.3 points.

• There was a rare sighting for Temple at the Linc: a rushing touchdown from a tailback. In fact, there were two. David Hood, who became the first Owls tailback to score on a run this season in last week’s rout of East Carolina, punched it in from one yard out to open the scoring in the first quarter. Ryquell Armstead weaved his way into the end zone for a 10-yard TD on the first play of the fourth quarter.

• Delvon Randall is simply a playmaker. The Owls’ leading tackler, Randall added another five stops in Saturday’s win. The junior DB also made a beautiful play along the sideline in the first quarter when he undercut an out route for an interception. It marked Randall’s third straight game with a pick. The Owls only have four interceptions this season and Randall has three of them.

• My colleague Greg Paone touched on college football’s targeting rule a couple of weeks ago (see story)We agree on pretty much all of the nuts and bolts of the rule. I’m glad it’s in place to protect players from violent and unnecessary hits. However, the more I see it called each week — and it seems like there is at least one in every game now — the more I’m starting to dislike the implementation. Temple defensive lineman Sharif Finch was ejected for targeting on Saturday when he went high on Huskies quarterback Bryant Shirreffs on a third-quarter touchdown pass. Shirreffs sold the hit by jerking his head back as he fell to the ground, but it was definitely worthy of a penalty. Was it a late hit? Yes. A bone-headed hit? Absolutely. But one worthy of Temple losing a top defensive player for the remainder of the game? I don’t think so.

• Speaking of Shirreffs, it’s easy to see why the Huskies have the best passing offense in the AAC. He didn’t show it with yardage in this tilt (just 105), but he was able to connect on three touchdowns through the air. He also added 39 yards on the ground, including a key run up the middle late in the fourth quarter.

• The Owls simply aren’t a good enough team to overcome 12 penalties for 117 yards.

• Like any other major college football game around the country, Saturday’s matchup at the Linc had scouts from NFL teams listed to attend. Of course, the Eagles were listed for several scouts in their home stadium. While the Miami Dolphins, Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers were also among those expected to have representatives at the game, there was only one other team labeled for more than one scout besides the Eagles — the New York Giants. At 0-5, they can certainly use all the help they can get right now.

• Temple will look to rebound when the Owls travel to play their final non-conference opponent in Army at 12 p.m. next Saturday.