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Instant Replay: La Salle 83, St. Joe's 68

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Instant Replay: La Salle 83, St. Joe's 68

BOX SCORE

The Explorers found uncharted territory Saturday, winning their first Big 5 game in over two years, dominating St. Joe's, 83-68.
 
After losing its last seven Big 5 games, La Salle made sure this one was never in doubt.
 
La Salle got off to a blistering start, racing out to a 10-point lead just three minutes into the game. The Explorers were a perfect 3 for 3 from deep to start the game, taking advantage of the young Hawks. Without leading-scorers Shavar Newkirk and Lamarr Kimble, Phil Martelli’s young starters — freshmen Charlie Brown and Nick Robinson, sophomores Chris Clover and Markell Lodge and junior James Demery — were outmatched from the get-go.
 
The Explorers’ dominance carried over into the second half, quickly padding the lead to 26. La Salle shot 41 percent from beyond the arc and 50 percent overall. The Explorers never trailed in the game.
 
The Hawks did not go down without a fight, though. It was just too little, too late. Down by 27 midway through the second half, St. Joe’s clawed to within 11 with five minutes to go before La Salle regained its composure and sealed the win.
 
Five Explorers finished in double figures, led by Jordan Price and B.J. Johnson, who both chipped in 18.
 
James Demery led the Hawks with 18 points, seven rebounds and five assists.
 
La Salle improved to 14-11 overall (8-6 A-10), while St. Joe’s fell to 10-15 overall (3-11 A-10) and continued its downward spiral.
 
First half
La Salle pushed its lead to as much as 25 in the half, but St. Joe’s closed the half on a 10-4 run to cut the lead to 18 at the half, 44-26. The Hawks tied a season-low with just 26 points in the first half.
 
Redshirt junior Amar Stukes paced the Explorers early, scoring nine of La Salle’s first 21 points. He finished the half with 15 points on 5 of 6 shooting with three assists.
 
Hawks down
The Hawks have lost six straight games after beating La Salle on Jan. 28.
 
Since losing leading-scorer Shavar Newkirk to a torn ACL on Dec. 30, the Hawks are just 3-11.
 
Good grief
Excellent troll job by the La Salle band. St. Joe’s freshman guard Charlie Brown started the game 0 for 8 from the field before being yanked. During the ensuing timeout, the band played the Peanuts’ theme song. Brown finished the game with 13 points on 5 of 18 shooting. Well done.
 
History
St. Joe’s leads the all-time series, 63-49, and had won four in a row before Saturday’s loss. The Hawks hung on to beat the Explorers, 73-72, on Jan. 28 when Jordan Price’s shot fell short at the buzzer.
 
Up next
La Salle hosts Rhode Island on Tuesday at 6 p.m. The Explorers topped Rhode Island 87-75 in January.
 
St. Joe’s takes on St. Bonaventure Wednesday at 7 p.m. The Hawks fell, 67-63, to St. Bonaventure in late January.

Knicks will reportedly reach out to Jay Wright about coaching job

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Knicks will reportedly reach out to Jay Wright about coaching job

Fresh off a second national championship in three years, this was bound to happen. Jay Wright is a hot name. 

And according to the New York Daily News, the Knicks plan on reaching out to Wright about their vacant head coaching job. 

Just don’t expect Wright to be interested. 

The 56-year-old coach has been determined to build Villanova into a powerhouse since he took the head coaching gig way back in 2001 and he’s finally done that. On the surface, maybe some think that would be enough to make him want to take his coaching to the top league in the world. Not so fast. 

In a recent interview with The Athletic, Wright said pretty flatly that he’s staying at Villanova because he loves it there. 

“The NBA does intrigue me,” Wright said. “That challenge is appealing but it’s not worth giving up working with these guys. The whole thing is, to take a new challenge you have to give up what you have. I don’t want to give up what I have. Would I like to coach in the NBA? Yes. But I have to give this up in order to do that, and I don’t see that happening.”

In that interview, Wright talked about his time at Hofstra and quoted Jim Valvano, who once said, ‘Don’t mess with happy.’ That was true at Hofstra until the Villanova job came around, so maybe there’s a chance the Knicks could blow him away. It just doesn’t seem likely. 

The Knicks just fired head coach Jeff Hornacek after a 29-53 record in 2017. The Knicks haven’t had a winning record since 2012-13. 

The New York Daily News cites a source, who said the Knicks believe Wright would be a “perfect candidate for a rebuilding club.” The Knicks might be right, but don’t bet on them getting Wright. 

Jalen Brunson hires agent, declares for NBA draft

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Jalen Brunson hires agent, declares for NBA draft

Villanova is losing its second star player in two days. 

Guard Jalen Brunson has decided to hire an agent and enter the 2018 NBA Draft, he wrote in a letter to Nova Nation on ESPN. He will forego his senior season at Villanova after an incredible college career. 

This news comes a day after his teammate Mikal Bridges announced he will also head to the NBA draft.

“It is with great honor and privilege that I have called Villanova University my home for the past three years,” Brunson wrote in ESPN. “When I decided to commit to Coach Jay Wright and the basketball program, I was driven by three goals: getting my education, competing at the highest level and winning a national championship. While I pride myself on remaining disciplined and focused to achieve these goals, I have grown as a man and have established lifelong relationships with my teammates, classmates, members of the basketball staff, fellow student-athletes and the wonderful educators and administrators of this prestigious university.”

Brunson leaves Villanova as one of the greatest players in Wildcats history, helping lead Villanova to its second national championship in three years. 

The 6-foot-3 guard averaged 18.9 points, 4.6 assists and 3.1 rebounds per game this season. Brunson was named the Big East Player of the Year and was the Wooden Award and Naismith Award winner this season.