La Salle tops George Washington behind Jordan Price's big night

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La Salle tops George Washington behind Jordan Price's big night

Jordan Price scored 23 points with seven rebounds, five assists and two steals and La Salle defeated George Washington 79-69 on Sunday.

B.J. Johnson had 14 points and Cleon Roberts added 13 for the Explorers (10-5, 4-1 Atlantic 10), who won their fourth straight.

La Salle, which never trailed, shot 68 percent in the first half, making 6 of 9 threes and 15 of 22 overall, to take a 40-30 lead.

George Washington scored the first six points out of the break and trailed 51-46 with 11:37 to play. Pookie Powell's three and Price's three-point play started an 8-0 surge and 19-3 run that made it 70-49 at the 6:29 mark. Johnson, Price and Powell hit consecutive threes.

The Explorers finished 24 of 44 (61 percent), 11 of 17 from long distance and 14 of 15 from the foul line. It was the first time they shot better than 60 percent since March 20, 2013. Price was 9 of 11 with four threes.

Jair Bolden led the Colonials (9-9, 1-4) with 16 points and Yuta Watanabe and Tyler Cavanaugh had 13 apiece.

St. Joe's comes back to beat George Washington, but Newkirk suffers injury

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St. Joe's comes back to beat George Washington, but Newkirk suffers injury

BOX SCORE

Before the game, St. Joe’s head coach Phil Martelli wrote just one word on the whiteboard: win.

At halftime, that word had changed to compete.

“It bothered me to put on the board, the word compete, ” Martelli said. “I don’t like doing that. You get a scholarship, you play hard, that’s the way I see it.

“What we talked about (at the half) was competing. I thought in the first half, we were just out there just playing basketball. And this is the league-play. You don’t play in the league. You can play in the non-conference, but you gotta compete, and we didn’t compete (in our brains), we didn’t compete (in our hearts).

“You get a scholarship, and here’s what you sign: ‘I agree that I will play hard.’ That’s it … And you play hard, everyday. And we didn’t for the first half, across the board.”

Clearly the message was received. After a sluggish first 20 minutes that earned them a six-point halftime deficit, the Hawks fought back to defeat George Washington, 68-63, to open A-10 conference play.

The Hawks improved to 7-5 (1-0 Atlantic 10) while the Colonials fell to 8-6 (0-1).

George Washington abused the Hawks in the paint in the early going, outrebounding St. Joe’s, 24-8, in the first half. Pair that with the Colonials’ blistering 6 for 12 shooting from deep, and the Hawks found themselves down by as many as 12 points.

“The first half was very disappointing,” Martelli said. “We didn’t compete mentally or physically.”

George Washington shot a blistering 46 percent from three in the game, but in the end, it was Saint Joseph’s shooting from deep that made the difference in a game where the Hawks may have lost their leading scorer.

With just a minute to go in the game, and the Hawks clinging to a 64-63 lead, sophomore Lamarr Kimble nailed a contested three with the shot clock winding down to keep St. Joe’s up for good.

“I just took the shot that I’m used to taking,” Kimble said. “My confidence gave me that shot, my teammates believe in me for that shot … I’m happy it went down for us to get the win.

“I stayed confident at the end. If we lose, I’m gonna put that on my shoulders, so I don’t mind taking that last shot and trying to help the team.“

Despite the dagger three, Martelli was not impressed with Kimble’s play overall. Kimble had 13 points on 5 for 16 shooting.

“I don’t think he was very good, I really don’t. Where he led was where you wouldn’t see it. He led in the timeout huddles. He’s gotta play better basketball, and he will, but I was more impressed with his leadership than any of his basketball.”

With just four seconds to go in the first half, it looked like tragedy struck for St. Joe’s. With the Hawks on an 8-2 run, and clawing their way back into the game, Shavar Newkirk stole the ball with a clear path ahead of him.

Newkirk went up for the uncontested layup, but he couldn’t get off the ground. The team’s leading-scorer failed to get the shot off as he grabbed his left leg, hopping to the corner of Hagan Arena as the buzzer sounded.

“I didn’t see it,” Martelli said. “I didn’t see the end of it. I was watching the clock to make sure that he was going to make the layup.”

Newkirk remained facedown behind the Colonials’ bench for over two minutes before being carried off the court. The junior guard returned to the Hawks’ bench halfway through the second half with a heavy brace on his left knee. Newkirk suffered a knee injury, and will have an MRI to determine the severity, according to Martelli.

“I just thought he probably twisted his ankle going up for the layup,” Kimble said. 

With sophomore Chris Clover taking over for Newkirk, the Hawks picked up right where they left off to start the second, quickly tying the game at 39. With an improved defensive effort, it wasn’t long before the Hawks took their first lead of the game at 51-48.

“Just because one of our main players are down, we can’t fold and be sorry about that,” Kimble said. “I think it was good that we went out there and kind of got that for him, knowing that he wasn’t on the court.”

With timely stops on D and a turnaround performance on the boards, the Hawks hung tight with the Colonials, trading leads throughout the final 10 minutes.

Freshman Charlie Brown came up huge for the Hawks down the stretch, hitting a pair of threes to keep pace with the Colonials before Kimble sealed it.

The Colonials — who average 34 percent from three on the year — finished 12 for 26 from beyond the arc. Comparatively, St. Joe’s shot just 5 for 14 from deep, but hit that one that mattered most. 

Temple's Josh Brown returns to form, but defensive lapse costly in loss

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Temple's Josh Brown returns to form, but defensive lapse costly in loss

BOX SCORE

Josh Brown began looking like his old self on Wednesday night.

Temple’s senior guard missed the Owls' first six games while recovering from surgery he had on his Achilles tendon in May. He returned to the court one week ago in the Owls’ win at St. Joe’s. 

Brown showed some signs of rust in his first two games. He had four points and an assist against the Hawks in 14 minutes of action. On Saturday against Penn, Brown played 11 minutes and scored five points.

In Wednesday’s 66-63 loss to George Washington at the Liacouras Center, Brown played a season-high 24 minutes. He scored 10 points on 4 of 5 shooting and added one assist and made some key plays for the Owls down the stretch in the close loss (see Instant Replay).

“He played great,” coach Fran Dunphy said. “He didn’t play great against Penn. Tonight, he was ready to go. He did some really good things for us. It’s nice to have. It’s a nice comfort.”

Brown helped Temple close a large deficit late in the game. He hit a three-point shot from the corner on the fast break with 5:28 left to bring the Owls within three. He hit another three-point shot at the top of the key with 2:44 left to bring Temple within six. 

Less than a minute later, he assisted on a Daniel Dingle three, which made the score 61-58. On Temple’s next defensive possession, Brown grabbed a rebound before Dingle hit another three on the other end of the court to tie the game at 61 with 1:31 left.

With the Owls trailing by three on the game’s final possession, Brown almost drew a foul behind the three-point line before finding Dingle for another open look that hit the back of the rim.

“When I was out there, I was just trying to be in the moment, be in the now,” Brown said. “That’s what I was doing. I wasn’t thinking about anything else. When you do that, you’re focused, and when the shot comes, your preparation takes over.”

Despite his clutch play on the offensive end, Brown was critical of a mental lapse on defense during the game’s most crucial moment. After playing tight defense for almost all of the shot clock, Brown let George Washington forward Tyler Cavanaugh slip to the corner and put up a three-point shot with one second on the shot clock.

Cavanaugh’s three-point attempt with 8.2 seconds left in the game proved to be the game-winner on Wednesday night.

“I lost focus for a little bit,” Brown said. “I helped off for a slight second and that’s all he needed. I give props to that guy for hitting a tough shot, but I could’ve just stayed and not even helped.”

Wednesday’s loss ended a five-game winning streak for Temple, now 6-3 on the season. With defenses focusing on junior forward Obi Enechionyia, who scored 12 points against the Colonials, Brown will be looked at to steady the Owls' offense.

Brown was the only Temple player besides Enechionyia to score more than one basket in the first half as the Owls went into the break trailing 31-25.

“Him being out there, he adds intensity to the game,” Dingle said. “When he goes in the game, the energy goes up. Defensively and offensively he’s a general out there.”