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St. Joe's gives up career-high 34 points to JeQuan Lewis in loss to VCU

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St. Joe's gives up career-high 34 points to JeQuan Lewis in loss to VCU


RICHMOND, Va. -- JeQuan Lewis scored a career-high 34 points with nine 3-pointers, Justin Tillman added 14 points and grabbed 13 rebounds for his fourth straight double-double, and VCU beat Saint Joseph's 91-81 on Tuesday night to win its seventh straight.

“Lewis was a senior in a game that they needed,” St. Joe's head coach Phil Martelli said. “That wasn’t a walk in the park, and there were a lot of people who assumed how could we hang around. But they needed 91 to beat us and he was a big reason they got it.”

The Rams led by 11 points early in the second half, but the Hawks closed to 57-54 on Charlie Brown's 3-pointer. Later, VCU's lead was cut to 82-76 with 1:01 left but Saint Joseph's got no closer as the game became a free-throw shooting contest.

It's the fifth straight defeat for the Hawks, who lost leading scorer Lamarr Kimble to a season-ending fracture in his left foot in Saturday's 87-76 loss to Massachusetts. Saint Joseph was also without Shavar Newkirk, who suffered a torn ACL on December 30 after leading SJU with a career-best 20.3 scoring average.

“We’re now in last place in this league and that’s not what this program is built on,” Martelli said. “At the end of the day, people won’t look at the score and say, 'That’s a shame, St. Joe’s is without four players.' We’re 10-15 and it’s all of our records. We did the same thing last week at Dayton and left some plays mentally out there.

“We’ve got to get better. We’ve got five games left and we’re not canceling the season. No one’s feeling sorry for us, nor do we expect them to.”

Lewis' 3-pointer put VCU up for good 47-44 late in the first half and the Rams led 48-44 at halftime.

Doug Brooks scored 12 and Samir Doughty 10 for the Rams (21-5, 11-2 Atlantic 10), who have won 10 straight at home.

Clover scored 21 for Saint Joseph's (10-15, 3-10), who are on their longest losing streak since a nine-game skid in January 2011.

“I can’t fault the effort, but it’s the execution. They’ve got older guys and, really, the better guys won,” Martelli said.

Lamarr Kimble suffers foot injury as St. Joe's loses 4th straight

Lamarr Kimble suffers foot injury as St. Joe's loses 4th straight


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.”

Instant Replay: Massachusetts 87, St. Joe's 76

Instant Replay: Massachusetts 87, St. Joe's 76


Saint Joseph’s could not hang with Massachusetts Saturday afternoon, as the Hawks continued to slip in the Atlantic 10.

Despite a late rally, St. Joe's lost its fourth straight game, 87-76, to UMass at Hagen Arena and the Hawks may have lost their leading guard to injury (see story).

The Hawks, down for almost the entire game, rallied back in the middle of the second half with a 10-0 run to tie the game at 55. Senior Javon Bauman’s strong post play keyed the run while freshman Charlie Brown and sophomore Lamarr Kimble both contributed threes. But as easily as the Hawks tied it, they fell victim to a 7-0 run by the Minutemen jumpstarted by two straight UMass steals that lead to points.

The Hawks suffered further, as Kimble was injured following the run when he was fouled driving for a layup. He tried to stay in the game but soon called time and pulled himself out of the game. He finished with 12 points, six assists and five rebounds.

The loss dropped the Hawks to 10-14 (3-9 A-10) while the Minutemen improved to 13-12 (3-9).

First half
A common theme for St. Joe’s continued – slow starts. The Hawks headed into halftime trailing UMass, 43-35. Sharp shooting from Donte Clark put the Minutemen up 17-9 by the 14:50 mark — he led the team with 12 points at half. 

The only thing that would slow Clark down was a flagrant-one he received when he fouled Kimble, who finished the half with nine points and five assists. St. Joe’s pulled to within three in the last two minutes before the break on a series of jumpers. The run started with a Kimble three, followed by a Brendan Casper jumper. The Hawks finished it off by a Casper half-court swing pass to find Brown in the corner for a three to make it 36-33. 

Brown finished the half with a team-high 12 points – he was 3 of 6 from beyond the arc.

Highlight reel play
Kimble brought the ball up in the late first half and without hesitation found a streaking Markell Lodge, who took the alley-oop and slammed it down with authority.

By the numbers
• This was the 700th St. Joe’s game coached by Phil Martelli

• St. Joe’s bench outscored UMass, 27-21, but the Hawks could not best them in the paint. The Minutemen won that battle, 30-26

• Brown scored a team-high 15 points and eight rebounds while Nick Robinson added 10 points.

• Clark led all scorers with 24 points. Fellow UMass guard Luwane Pipkins had 19 points for the afternoon.

What's next
St. Joe's will play at VCU on Tuesday.

Massachusetts will play at Duquesne on Wednesday.