ST. THOMAS, U.S. Virgin Islands -- Lamarr Kimble scored a career-high 26 points and Saint Joseph's pulled away in the second half to beat Loyola-Chicago 71-57 on Friday in the opening game of the Paradise Jam tournament.
Shavar Newkirk added 20 points for the Hawks (3-0), who led by as many as 14 points in the second half before the Ramblers (3-1) mounted a late comeback.
“They (Kimble and Newkirk) were experienced players playing against experienced players. We have to have better balance than that. Fifteen turnovers is really not an acceptable way to play basketball. They had 46 points but they also had seven turnovers between them. They can play better, we can play better. I did think we were tough and the fact that we don’t foul and get ourselves in trouble – that was a plus. We’re going to have to play a whole lot better the rest of the season,” St. Joe's coach Phil Martelli said.
Ahead 35-26 at the break, Saint Joseph's used a 14-4 run to take its biggest lead of the game, going up 53-39 on Kimble's 3-pointer with 8:34 remaining.
However, Loyola mounted its own run, outscoring the Hawks 13-4 over the next 3 minutes to pull within 57-52 on Aundre Jackson's layup with 5:08 left.
But Kimble hit a 3-pointer 30 seconds later to end the rally, and Saint Joseph's made 9 of 11 free throws over the final 82 seconds to clinch the win.
Jackson finished with 22 points for Loyola, with Clayton Custer adding 13 and Milton Doyle 10.
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.
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.