Newkirk, Kimble lead St. Joe's to season-opening win

Newkirk, Kimble lead St. Joe's to season-opening win


Before its season opener, Saint Joseph’s celebrated its past.

Turns out, the Hawks’ future could be pretty good too.

Led by a career-high 28 points from junior Shavar Newkirk — one of only three returning regulars from last year’s Atlantic 10 championship squad — St. Joe’s earned a 77-76 win over Toledo to kick off its 2016-17 campaign Saturday night at Hagan Arena.

Lamarr Kimble and James Demery, the other two returners, added 16 and 11 points, respectively. Kimble’s 16 was also a career high as the Hawks look to find new stars to keep their program on top.

“College is about waiting your turn,” Newkirk said. “We basically waited our turn. We’re ready for it.” 

The backcourt partnership between Newkirk and Kimble was perhaps the most promising development of Saturday’s opener. Because they’re both natural point guards, the two rarely played on the court at the same time last season, instead splitting time evenly.

But knowing he needed to rely on them both, Martelli decided over the summer the two would start together — and they rewarded that decision with a combined 44 points, six assists and nine rebounds in the opener. They also combined to shoot a healthy 15 for 28 from the floor.

“When I know I have another point guard on the floor, it relieves pressure off me,” Newkirk said. “I don’t have to run the team as much.”

“We’re like brothers out there,” Kimble added. “It definitely was good playing with him. I picked my spots off him and he had it going.”

Earlier in the night, Kimble hugged the A-10 championship trophy as St. Joe’s commemorated the 2015-16 campaign in which the Hawks won 28 games, including victories in the Atlantic 10 championship over VCU and a first-round NCAA Tournament contest over Cincinnati. 

A championship banner was also unveiled and a highlights video was shown, before three departed players from last year’s team — Aaron Brown, Papa Ndao and Kyle Molock — posed for a photo with the official game ball. DeAndre' Bembry and Isaiah Miles, the two stars of the team now playing professionally, both made video messages that were played during the first half.

“It was nice to see another banner hanging up there,” head coach Phil Martelli said, “and now getting to work on hopefully getting another one.”

The loss of Bembry, Miles, Brown and Ndao — who accounted for 65 percent of their scoring last year — was felt early on as this year’s young Hawks squad fell behind by eight a little more than five minutes into the contest.

But the Hawks got the crowd roaring right before halftime on a three-pointer from promising freshman Charlie Brown followed by a game-tying, coast-to-coast dunk from Demery. 

The Rockets ended up taking a 41-40 lead into halftime, spurred by 46.4 percent shooting. But Newkirk began to take over in the second half, scoring seven straight points for his team to put St. Joe’s up 55-54. Kimble followed with an acrobatic three-point play with 11:16 left to give the Hawks a four-point lead — their biggest of the night until the final minute.

“We’re definitely maturing fast as a team,” Kimble said. “We’ve got a lot of young players but you definitely saw that we took some punches and we were able to keep grinding the game down.”

St. Joe’s couldn’t stretch its advantage as the two teams traded leads the rest of the way — remarkably, there were 25 total lead changes in the second half — but went up for good on a Markell Lodge bucket with 1:42 left. A clutch Newkirk jumper gave the Hawks a 74-71 lead with 46.7 seconds left and, after a big defensive stop, two Newkirk free throws with 25.4 seconds remaining helped ice the win. 

“I felt like in an odd way this was a really enjoyable game to be a part of because the lead was changing, we had to make some calls, we had to make some adjustments,” said Martelli, who began his 22nd season at the Hawks’ helm. “I like that. I’m fine with it.”

What turned out to be the difference in the final two minutes as St. Joe’s finally stopped the seesaw and pulled away, with Toledo only pulling back to within one with a meaningless three at the buzzer?

“Having two point guards on the floor,” Newkirk responded simply.

And now the Hawks hope their new backcourt will continue to grow when St. Joe’s returns to action Monday with a home game vs. Columbia before flying out to St. Thomas for the Paradise Jam.

“It’s a long season,” Newkirk said. “We have to come back Monday and do it again.”

Penn football falls late at home against Yale

Penn Athletics

Penn football falls late at home against Yale


Kurt Rawlings connected with Christopher Williams-Lopez for a 4-yard touchdown with 4:11 remaining in the game and Yale rallied for a 24-19 victory over Pennsylvania on Saturday.

Rawlings threw for 199 yards and two scores for the Bulldogs (5-1, 2-1 Ivy League), who won at Penn (2-4, 0-3) for the first time since 2007. Yale's Zane Dudek carried 12 times for 103 yards and a score.

The Quakers, who trailed 18-10 at the half, recovered a pair of fumbles in the fourth quarter to take a 19-18 lead. The first turnover led to Jack Soslow's 44-yard field goal and the second resulted in a 2-yard TD run by Tre Solomon. But Rawlings led the Bulldogs on an 11-play, 80-yard drive for the winning score.

Penn senior Justin Watson caught 10 passes for 120 yards and a 23-yard touchdown reception. It was an Ivy League record 16th career game with at least 100 yards receiving and he tied a school record with a TD catch in his sixth straight game. His 27 career scores ties the school record.

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

USA Today Images/Penn Athletics

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 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.