Philadelphia PA: Only three days into 2018 and College Basketball begins top start conference play, and that was the case on Wednesday night as the Saint Joseph’s Hawks opened up their home schedule for conference play as they took on VCU Rams from Hagan Arena on the campus of Saint Joseph’s University. The Hawks entered the game coming off a loss to George Washington back on December 30.
VCU would open up the scoring with the game’s first five points before the Hawks got on the board on a basket from Chris Clover. The Hawks would try to keep the game close despite having a bad shooting night. The Hawks would take their first lead of the game on a basket by Newkirk getting a slight 17-15 lead. Late in the 1st half, the Hawks would go on an 11-0 run to retake the lead. VCU would cut into the Hawks’ lead and both teams would go back and forth down the stretch to end the half with the Hawks leading 46-40.
The Hawks would continue to make things hard for VCU, The Hawk’s first basket of the second half, James Demery would hit a milestone with scoring 1,000 career points, the Rams would weather the early storm by the Hawks. VCU retook the lead on a 3 for a 58-57 lead. The Hawks would keep this game very close, but Newkirk would get nailed with a technical foul and VCU would take it to the hawks in the rebound. The Hawks managed to retake the lead with 4:08 left on 2 foul shots by James Demery. VCU would again go on a run and cut into the lead. The Hawks would lead 75-74 with 36 seconds left and VCU would tie the game with 10 seconds left. Saint Josephs would have a chance to win the game at the Buzzer and they turn it over, VCU would also have a shot at the buzzer, and it the basket managed to go in but the buzzer went off, and both teams headed to overtime, tied at 76.
The Hawks started with the ball to begin overtime and Taylor Funk would be fouled from beyond the three-point mark and managed to make all 3 fouls shots. VCU got on the board with a layup from Jenkins. The Hawks would take full control in overtime as the Hawks would grind out a huge win to start their home schedule in the conference as Hawks take this one 87-81. With the win, Hawks are 6-7 (1-1 in A-10) and now head into battle with St. Bonaventure at home this Saturday at 7:00 p.m. With the Loss, VCU falls to 9-6 (1-1 in A-10) and look to get back to winning ways with game against LaSalle on Saturday at 2 PM.
Saint Joseph’s Hawks:
Taylor Funk: 19 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 4-7 from 3 PT Range
Pierfrancesco Oliva: 15 points, 7 rebounds
James Demery & Nick Robinson each with 13 points
Justin Tillman: 22 points, 12 rebounds
De’Riante Jenkins: 16 points, 2 rebounds, 5 assists
Issac Vann: 13 points, 5 rebounds