PHILADELPHIA, PA. 2/3.2018 – The teams were within one game of each other in the Atlantic 10 standings. Now, they are tied with identical league records of 4 – 6 as the La Salle Explorers took a lead with just over a minute to play and held it for a 81 – 78 victory over the Saint Joseph’s Hawks at the Gola Arena. Going into the game the Hawks were tied for the 8th seed. Time will tell where both teams are Sunday morning as only half of the season is complete.
“It was a gutsy win,” said La Salle Coach Dr. John Giannini. “In the last five minutes we started to play together, and that’s what carried us.”
With the game tied at 54 both squads would trade the lead four more times. The Explorers would get the lead with 1:16 to play on a three-pointer by Jamir Moultrie, who set a career-mark in made three point field goals with 6.
La Salle would stretch the lead to five points, but still would need two more free throws by forward B.J. Johnson, who played hurt, to close it out as Saint Joseph’s got to within one with 14.9 seconds to play. The Hawks had two shots at tying the game late, but both three’s were off the mark.
In the game the Explorers had just two turnovers while Saint Joe’s committed 13. La Salle had a 19 – 2 edge in points off turnovers. At the free throw line the Explorers made 18 of 21 while the Hawks converted 18 of 31.
It was a record setting day for two players as both Johnson and Shavar Newkirk surpassed the 1,00 career-point plateau. Johnson also passed his father, Bob Johnson, on the school scoring list. Behind his 25 points, B.J. has scored 1,012. Moultrie added 18 points, all on baskets from beyond the arc. Amar Stukes had 20 points. Pookie Powell handed out a career-high 11 assists.
Newkirk also came in 13 points shy of the 1,000 point mark. He scored a career-high 30 points. James Demery contributed 20 points, all in the first half.
“We’ve seen this before, missed free throws and turnovers,” said Saint Joseph’s Coach Phil Martelli. “This is the man in the mirror.”
La Salle goes on the road for the next two games at George Washington then Saint Louis.
Saint Joseph’s will look to break its 4-game losing streak at Davidson.
Written By: Glenn Papazian