PHILADELPHIA, PA. 1/21/2017 – It is mutually agreed by both schools that this game should be played at the Palestra on a Saturday night. Just like the Big Five as we remember. The way we were. A near-sellout crowd of 8,950 witnessed the event. In the end the Saint Joseph’s Hawks came away with a 78 – 71 victory over the University of Pennsylvania. Hawks guard Lamarr Kimble lead all scorers with 23 points and handed out 5 assists. Still, something special.
“Take a moment and think, a Saturday night in the best basketball arena in basketball, and you played a small role in the history,” said Saint Joseph’s Coach Phil Martelli. “It causes you to pause and be grateful for the opportunity.”
The start of the game was a back and forth one-possession affair. Finally, the Hawks began to pull away thanks to a 10 – 0 run to take a 31 – 16 lead with just under five minutes left in the half. But most of the points came at the foul line. A sign? Maybe! The Hawks ended the half with no field goals in the last 6:30. Meanwhile, Penn began to find the range and cut the deficit to 35 – 31 at halftime.
Penn scored the first 5 second half points to move in front. Charley Brown hit a three for the Hawks. The lead for SJU would stretch to 8 on a three-pointer by Chris Clover and basket by James Demery. The edge stayed between 8 and 4.
It would be hard for either team to make a significant run as the numerous whistles kept the pace of play choppy. There were 52 fouls called, 32 on Penn and 20 on Saint Joe’s. That resulted in 58 free throws. From the line Saint Joseph’s shot 31 of 43, it was 9 of 15 for Penn.
“We wanted to take the ball downhill,” said Martelli. “We thought we could get to the rim and that led to the fouls.”
The Hawks had three other players score in double figures. Brown had 19 points and 9 rebounds, a career-mark, while Demery contributed 15 and Clover put in 10 points.
Matt Howard led the Red and Blue with 19 points and a career-high 12 rebounds. Darnell Foreman scored 11 points.
Penn (6 – 9, 0 – 3) concludes city series play next week at La Salle.
“We competed, but couldn’t get over the hump,” Penn Coach Steve Donahue said. “We didn’t have enough at the end.”
Saint Joseph’s (9 – 9, 1 -2) snapped a three-game losing streak, and resumes Atlantic 10 competition on Tuesday at St. Bonaventure.
Written By: Glenn Papazian