NCAA

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

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

BOX SCORE

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.

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.