Shavar Newkirk's heroics lead St. Joe's past City 6 rival Drexel

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Shavar Newkirk's heroics lead St. Joe's past City 6 rival Drexel


As a point guard whose game revolves around driving to the hoop and getting to the foul line, Shavar Newkirk has experience making all kinds of different free throws.

Game-winners. Swishes. Even ones that have no business going in.

So when the Saint Joseph’s junior stepped to the line with Sunday’s game against Drexel tied at 71-71 with 10.7 seconds left, he didn’t feel much pressure. He didn’t pay attention to the Dragons fans’ waving their arms like crazy behind the basket. And he didn’t worry when his shot bounced high off the rim ... before eventually dropping through and sending St. Joe’s to a 72-71 victory over its city rival at the refurbished Daskalakis Athletic Center (see Instant Replay).

“Shooter’s touch,” he said, flashing a smile.

Newkirk certainly had the touch Sunday night — and without it, the Hawks (4-4) would have almost certainly lost to Drexel (4-5) for the first time in six tries.

For the game, he made 10 of the 13 two-point shots he attempted, including his team’s first one and a buzzer-beater before halftime that helped St. Joe’s stay within striking distance despite getting outplayed in the first half. He shot 7 of 10 from the free-throw line with all seven of those makes coming in the second half and six in the final seven minutes when the two teams traded leads. And, most impressively, he scored his team’s final 11 points, capped by an acrobatic driving layup while getting fouled — the pivotal play that preceded his game-winning free throw.

“I saw that we needed a spark,” Newkirk said. “Brendan Casper did a good job in the first half. And I felt, as a leader of the team, I could provide that.”

St. Joe’s head coach Phil Martelli was certainly pleased with his team’s leaders as Casper, a senior, scored 10 points and Javon Baumann, another senior, came through with a critical block on Drexel’s final offensive possession to help seal the win. And he liked that Newkirk and fellow point guard Lamarr Kimble (16 points) came through when it mattered most and helped the team overcame a dreadful 3-for-18 shooting night from behind the arc and snap a four-game losing skid.

But when asked if he was proud of his team’s resiliency in overcoming an 11-point second-half deficit, he instead lamented about the lack of urgency in some of the Hawks’ young players.

“No, not really,” Martelli said. “I’m happy for them because this is a tough time going into exams. But some of our young guys are still back at Hagan [Arena]. They didn’t even make the trip. That’s not going to be nearly good enough facing what we have to face.”

Like St. Joe’s, Drexel got big-time performances from its top players as senior forward Rodney Williams had a career-high 29 points and 10 rebounds and lightning-quick freshman point guard Kurk Lee had 16 points and six assists.

Williams, who’s suffered through two straight rough seasons, looked like he had a spring in his step while playing under a new point guard in Lee and a new head coach in Zach Spiker, dominating the paint and making one especially pretty scooping layup in the first half.

But when the game ended and he missed out on a golden opportunity to beat St. Joe’s for the first time, Williams looked understandably distraught.

“That’s what Rodney’s capable of,” Spiker said of his senior’s 29-point game. “We need that more often than not. Rodney is one of our featured players. Tonight he did a lot of good things. As I told the guys in the locker room, though, I don’t think anyone should feel good that we played St. Joe’s a little close because we’re shorthanded. Everyone could have made one or two more plays. That’s what’s sickening to us.”

Spiker admitted that the team’s depth, coupled with foul trouble, was an issue as starting guard Miles Overton missed the game with a lower-leg injury. But he believes that giving a lot of guys experience in this kind of a “dogfight” vs. a Philly team will be beneficial in the long run.

“This feeling sucks,” Spiker said. “But we’ll be a better team in March because of this game.”

Despite coming out of the win, Martelli found less reason for optimism than his coaching counterpart. If anything, he thinks his team relying on Newkirk and Kimble as much as it did should be a wake-up call as Atlantic 10 play approaches.

“If they don’t score, we’re back to the rock ages,” the St. Joe’s coach said. “We’re scoring 42 points, we’re not gonna beat anybody.

“Shavar saw what was needed and did what he had to do. But we need balance. When we play up leagues, we can’t ride them. They need to be part of a picture that right now is incomplete.”

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


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.