As if a loss wasn't bad enough, Saint Joseph's may have lost another leading scorer as well.
St. Joe's suffered its fourth-straight loss, 87-76, to Massachusetts on Saturday afternoon at Hagen Arena (see Instant Replay).
The beating from UMass wasn’t the only bad news for the Hawks, as their captain, Lamarr Kimble, went down with a left foot injury late in the second half. Kimble went up for a layup but landed on his foot awkwardly and tried to play through it. He called a timeout by the 4:05 mark in the second half to take himself out.
“It’s definitely a bad taste in our mouth,” freshman Charlie Brown said on both losses suffered by the Hawks. “We just got to look at the positives instead of the negatives. Just focusing on the next game, the next practice trying to get better individually, coaches get better and get better as a team.”
Kimble was not available to talk following the game, as he was taken to get his foot X-rayed. The severity of the injury is unclear, but he left the arena on crutches with ice wrapped around his foot.
Heading into halftime, St. Joe’s (10-14, 3-9 A-10) trailed Massachusetts, 43-35 – just another game where the Hawks started off flat. Great shooting from the Minutemen’s Donte Clark pushed UMass (13-12, 3-9 A-10) off to a 17-9 lead – Clark led the way with 12 points in that stretch and finished with a game-high 24 points.
“The plan in the beginning was to zone them and they made eight threes,” Hawks coach Phil Martelli said. “So credit to them. They beat the plan.”
“They came up firing for one," Brown said. “We were surprised because we didn’t know they were going to shoot the ball that good. They are not known as a shooting team so that was one thing. Second half they just kept it going.”
A 10-0 run early in the second half brought the game to a tie at 55. It was the first time St. Joe's was that close since 42 seconds into the game when they led 3-2. Hawks senior center Javon Bauman started the run with a layup at the 12:58 mark and would end it with two free throws at the 10:24. Both Kimble and Brown added three pointers in between.
Unfortunately, as easy as that run came about, it was erased with a 7-0 run by the Minutemen. Two steals after the initial run was the turning point for UMass.
“I think we just played,” Matelli said about the initial run. “I didn’t think anything noteworthy. We tried different guys. Javon Bauman gave us a lift there, but we need more playmakers. We needed to dig in and get a stop but they scored five in a row.”
The Hawks' second-half run paralleled a similar comeback attempt in the first half when they pulled within three at the 1:22 mark. It started with a Kimble three, followed by a Brendan Casper jumper and finished with a Casper half-court swing pass to find Brown in the corner for a three, making it 36-33.
Once again UMass pulled away with a 5-0 run, foreshadowing what would happen after the break.
After a day like that, the Hawks just want to focus on moving forward.
“Just got to get better,” Brown said. “Can’t say nothing more other than that.”