Richmond, VA – Saint Joe’s soared to its first A-10 win of the season with a 83-56 road victory against the Richmond Spiders last night. The Hawks had all five starters in double digit points, as Saint Joe’s rocked the Robins Center with relentless scoring.
Taylor Funk led the charge for Saint Joe’s, scoring 18 points on 5-10 shooting. However, the star performance came from Cameron Brown who played his best basketball of the season. Brown earned a double double on the night, contributing 16 points on 7-11 shooting, and grabbing 11 total rebounds. Overall, Saint Joe’s as a team performed very well. The Hawks found their groove inside the paint, shooting 55% from within two point range. In addition, the Hawks also dominated rebounds, grabbing 51 to Richmond’s 36.
On the other side of the ball Richmond could not buy a basket. At halftime the Spiders were down 38-32. It was a close game for the first, with the Spiders and Hawks trading the lead. However, no one could foresee what was about to happen in the second half. Saint Joe’s came out of the locker room to blitz Richmond after halftime, outsourcing the Spiders by a total of 45 to 24.
As mentioned before, Richmond could not get the ball in the basket. The Spiders finished the game shooting 20% from the field and 15% from beyond three. It was a dismal 3 for 20 performance from beyond the arc as both Grant Golden and Nick Sherod shot 2-7 from beyond three. Jacob Gilyard also had a quiet night, scoring only 4 points on 2-10 shooting. Gilyard did contribute with 4 steals and 6 assists, but it would not be enough to close the 26 gap in the end.
Hey There Cam Brown!
If you haven’t heard about Cam Brown, now is your change to get acquainted with him. One of Coach Lange’s first recruits, Cam Brown has always been a scrappy player. As a freshman he served as the primary ball handler for Saint Joe’s. Last year Brown ran the second unit. This saw a reduction in points scored thanks to his reduction in minutes. Unfortunately, this year both points scored and overall scoring efficiency were down. This was a big issue for Saint Joe’s as they searched for a fifth person to fill out their roster. This has been tough to watch as many, including myself, believe that Cam had the talent to become the fifth man in the rotation, something SJU desperately needed.
Luckily, after Kacper Klaczek was removed from the starting lineup earlier this year, Cam Brown got the call to make his return as a starter. Since then, he has helped Saint Joe’s secure wins and has really rounded out the lineup, especially defensively. However, tonight was by far Brown’s best outing of the season. His shooting, decision making, and overall effort could not be beat. If Brown continues to play to this level, which was always a possibility, then Saint Joe’s starting rotation will be as good as any team in the A-10.
Another individual that needs to be watched is Erik Reynolds II. Reynolds had a slow start to his freshman season, similar to Jordan Hall last year. However, Reynolds has slowly turned it on over the past few weeks. Foul trouble does continue to be an issue, as it was a problem both tonight and against Bradley a few weeks ago. However, Reynolds presence in the half court has become vital, as he and Obinna have become the main inside scoring threats on the team. Reynolds can also shot from outside, as two of his biggest shots tonight were the two three pointers that came within the first five minutes of the second half.
Many announcers and play callers mention how Saint Joe’s has three pieces in Obinna, Hall, and Funk. Yet, soon the conference will look up and wonder how Saint Joe’s added a fourth legitimate scoring threat, as Reynolds continues to break out.
Next Up, Davidson
Finally, I am not the biggest fan of using Kenpom to judge wins, however, there are few other ways to compare teams in college basketball due to the quantity of schools. Saint Joe’s best win heading into this was against Georgetown, who ranked 108. To put this into perspective, Richmond was at 58 prior to the game. This was by far Saint Joe’s best win of the season, as it propelled Saint Joe’s to 145 in Kenpom.
In conclusion, there is no better way to kick off A-10 play than to secure a road win against an extremely respectable Richmond team. Coach Lange and Hawks have another challenge ahead as they prepare to face Davidson on the road. However, if SJU can focus on inside scoring and staying alert of the defensive side, they will have a legitimate chance to move to 2-0 on the conference record.