St. Joe's looked to avoid its second-straight loss Saturday afternoon against the University of Richmond, but fell just shy of its third Atlantic 10 win.
The Hawks found themselves in a hole early in the second half, but railed from an 18-point deficit to come within one point with a minute-and-a-half remaining. It would not be enough as Richmond would take a 70-66 victory.
What it means
The Hawks' loss to Richmond drops them to 8-8 overall and 2-3 in the Atlantic 10.
Richmond won its fifth straight game moving the Spiders to 11-6 overall and a perfect 5-0 in A-10 play.
The first half was tightly contested through the first 17 minutes, with neither team leading by more than six at any point. With just under three minutes left to play in the first half, a James Demery jumper brought the Hawks with one, but that would be the last basket St. Joe's would get before the halftime buzzer. Richmond mounted a 12-0 run to end the half and opened up a 41-28 lead.
Sophomore Lamar Kimble led the way for St. Joe's with 11 points, but no Hawks’ player would record more than one assist in the first half. Richmond, who leads the A-10 in assists per game with 16.8, held a 10-4 advantage in that category at halftime.
The Spiders opened the second half running a full-court press against the Hawks.
St. Joe's, now down 48-35, would capitalize on two Charlie Brown jumpers and a Nick Robinson tip-in to bring their deficit to single digits. Kimble, Brown and Robinson combined to bring the Hawks back to within four points with just under 12 minutes left to play.
With just under 10 minutes to play, Richmond’s T.J. Cline would pick up his fourth foul, residing him to the bench and ridding the Spiders of their best playmaker.
However, Richmond’s offense would not miss a beat and find success from the guard tandem of ShawnDre’ Jones and De’Monte Buckingham.
The Hawks continued to battle and found themselves one point down with a minute remaining. Martelli’s squad could not find a way to match Richmond’s total and the Spiders’ strong free throw shooting would lift them to victory.
Big man on campus
T.J. Cline proved be an absolute nightmare matchup for Hawks’ defenders. His ability to score from both the post and behind the arc allowed him to fill the stat sheet, including seven of Richmond’s first 10 points.
Throughout the game, he was able to beat St. Joes with his passing when Martelli called for a double team. By the end of the first half, Cline had tallied five assists.
His final total would be 15 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists, giving him his second double-double in three games. He finished an assist shy of a triple double.
Despite Saturday's loss, St. Joe's still holds a 16-9 series advantage over the Spiders.
The Hawks won last season’s only matchup between the two conference rivals in Richmond’s Robins Center, 77-73. Two years ago, the Spiders toppled the Hawks, 63-57, in Philadelphia.
St. Joe's will travel to the University of Massachusetts Wednesday night to face the Minutemen in its sixth conference bout of the season. UMASS holds an 11-6 overall record, but is only 1-3 in the A-10, good enough for 10th in the conference.
Richmond will take on Dayton on Thursday in a matchup of A-10 title contenders.