St. Joe’s trying to find balance before New Year

Life without Lamarr “Fresh” Kimble has not been easy for the St. Joe’s Hawks.

Kimble was lost for the season in November after re-injuring the same bone in his left foot which required surgery in February. 

Seniors Shavar Newkirk (16.9 PPG) and James Demery (16.8 PPG) have had to pick up the slack offensively that Kimble left behind as the Hawks keep trying to tread water in the Atlantic 10 standings.

They beat Maine on Sunday, 72-59, to improve to 5-5 on the season, placing them in eighth in the A-10.

“[Winning tonight] is a big deal, but I still have to get their attention,” St. Joe’s coach Phil Martelli said. “They’re not hard to coach, but some of them feel like coaching is a conversation. I don’t want to have a conversation, I want to make sure they understand [what they need to work on].”

The Hawks had lost two-straight Big Five contests at the hands of Villanova and Temple before facing Maine. Getting the win on Sunday was surely a confidence builder for the team, but Martelli wasn’t happy with the performance. The team missed layups, used poor shot selection and missed nine free throws while giving up easy drives to the rim on the defensive end.

“We need to play better,” Martelli said. “Individually better. We’re not really walking out of here and saying, ‘that was crisp, that was sharp, that was good enough for the Atlantic 10.’”

Newkirk and Demery each scored 19 points in the Hawks’ win but on a combined 13 of 34 (38%) shooting. With St. John’s (9-2) coming into Hagan Arena on Wednesday, the Hawks need to play a more efficient brand of basketball to give themselves a shot to win. 

“If we [play like we did tonight] on Wednesday, we’re going to lose and everybody’s going to be hanging their head and you’re going to be stomping your way through Christmas,” Martelli said. “I don’t want to do that.”

The Hawks’ game against the Red Storm will air at 4:30 p.m. on ESPNU.

More from our Sister Sites