Philadelphia, PA – Down 2 with less than 15 seconds left at Drexel, it’s little surprise that St. Joseph’s gave the ball to Shavar Newkirk, Philadelphia’s hottest player outside of Villanova’s Josh Hart. The 6-1 junior guard broke down the Drexel defense and finished a tough lay-up at the rim, absorbing contact and hitting the foul shot to put Saint Joe’s ahead 72-71 with 10 seconds remaining. Drexel, who had led the entire game until that moment, then failed to get a shot off and let a game they had dominated for 39 and a half minutes out of their grasp.
Newkirk, who scored Saint Joe’s final 11 points and finished with 27 points, seven rebounds, and four assists was the only Hawk starter that looked up to the challenge Sunday night. St. Joseph’s was sluggish and uninterested in this cross-city, non-conference match-up. St. Joseph’s Head Coach, Phil Martelli, was unimpressed, “I’m happy for them because this is a tough time going into exams. But some of our young guys are still back at Hagan [Arena]. They didn’t even make the trip. That’s not going to be nearly good enough facing what we have to face.”
Luckily, for the Hawk Hill faithful in attendance, the play of senior forward’s Javon Baumann and Brendan Casper kept the game within striking distance for Shavar Newkirk.
Coming off a 6-25 season, the Dragons have been a pleasant surprise under first year coach Zach Spiker. Led by 6-7 senior forward Rodney Williams, who finished with a game high 29 points and 10 rebounds, the Dragons gave Saint Joe’s all it could handle. Williams was dominant in the low post, using his strength and quickness to get to the line 16 times (11-16 FT). Equally impressive was Kurk Lee, Drexel’s 5-10 freshman point guard. The speedy lefty finished with 16 points, six assists and only one turnover. Drexel needed more from its baby-faced freshman guard Kari Jonsson, who hit 7-of-12 threes in its win at High Point last week. The Icelandic import went 0-of-6 from the deep, his stroke as cold as the frozen tundra of his hometown of Hafnarfjöróur (try pronouncing that).
Drexel drops to 4-5 as it heads into conference play Friday at Rider. St. Joseph’s improves to 4-4 on the year and faces Princeton on Wednesday.
This article was written by Robby Smuckler a correspondent and scout for NetScouts Basketball. You can subscribe to our RSS feed from the upper right corner of our home page, follow us on Facebook, or on twitter.
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