The Saint Joseph’s Hawks (8-10, 2-4) traveled across town about 6.5 miles to Tom Gola Arena on MLK day for a cross-town matchup against the La Salle Explorers (8-10, 2-3) to try and get their first win against the Explorers since February of 2021 and the first win on West Olney since the 2016 A-10 champions defeated La Salle 69-48 on January 24, 2016.
Saint Joe’s started off hot coming off the short rest after playing Loyola Chicago on Saturday. The Hawks jumped out to a 12-0 lead which included two threes by Cam Brown and Lynn Greer III respectively. SJU saw their first-half lead balloon to as many as 15 points, but a few turnovers in the final 42 seconds resulted in a 12-point halftime lead for the Hawks. Saint Joseph’s turned the ball over a season-high 22 times, but the Explorers couldn’t capitalize as the Hawks picked up the 71-59 win.
Whenever you win a road game in the Atlantic 10, it is always a sigh of relief regardless of who you are in the conference. Nevertheless, SJU definitely didn’t play the most disciplined game. Kacper Klaczek had a rough game after a great game at Hagan Arena on Saturday against Loyola. Klaczek was 0-4 from the field and although he brought down 9 rebounds, he turned the ball over five times and fouled out. Lynn Greer, who is the floor general for the Hawks, had seven turnovers. Christian Winborne played 19 minutes on Monday afternoon and struggled shooting the ball finishing with 3 points on 1-5 shooting before fouling out as well. Rasheer Fleming who is a bright spot for this team and seems to be a key part of the future, has struggled a bit in conference play. Fleming offers a lot of defensive versatility, but he is still very raw and lacks strength when it comes to bringing down rebounds and hanging on to the ball. If Fleming can stay out of foul trouble, he will be a force for this Hawks team as they look to build momentum coming off of two A-10 wins in a row.
Despite the 22 turnovers, Saint Joseph’s was far from sloppy shooting the ball on Monday afternoon. SJU shot 51% from the field and knocked down 11 threes at a 50% clip. The Hawks did a nice job of sharing the rock assisting on 16 of their 26 made field goals. Cam Brown continued his blistering shooting from deep going 4-7 from three finishing with a team-high 20 points. Erik Reynolds who had been struggling as of late shooting the ball, came out with a vengeance and had one of his best games in his young career on Hawk Hill. The sophomore guard had 19 points on 7-11 shooting while nailing 4-6 from three point range. Two of those long threes came in the middle of a La Salle mini-run which halted the momentum for the Explorers. Another bright spot for the Hawks the last couple of games has been the two-man game of Lynn Greer III and Ejike Obinna. Although Greer had the 7 turnovers, he was efficient from the field and stuffed the stat sheet adding 12 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists. Obinna has been a difference-maker for the Hawks here in conference play. The big man played 29 minutes and had a perfect night. Edge finished with 9 points (4-4 FG), 9 rebounds, 2 blocks, 1 assist and even knocked down his only free throw attempt of the game. It was clear on Monday that this offense was most successful with him on the floor. It’s been a rough year for Obinna after seeing a minutes reduction earlier in the season, but the big man is playing great as of late in his final season on Hawk Hill.
Saint Joseph’s will have the week off before returning back to Hagan Arena on Saturday to face the Minutemen of Massachusetts. KenPom has this one as a 50/50 game with the Hawks coming out on top 74-73. If the advanced metrics are correct, Saint Joe’s will have a ton of momentum heading into the heart of A-10 play.
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