On Senior Night at Hagan Arena, a strong second half by senior guard Chris Clover led St. Joseph’s to a 72-62 victory over La Salle on Saturday night.
“I really wanted to get that win,” said Clover. “Tonight I knew what I wanted to do. I just wanted to come out there, perform and help my team win.”
Clover had 12 of his game-high 19 points after halftime and gave the Hawks a much-needed scorer as redshirt sophomore guard Charlie Brown Jr. managed just nine points on a 2-for-13 night from the field.
Redshirt junior guard Fresh Kimble returned to the starting lineup for St. Joseph’s and scored 18 points. Kimble had been a reserve in the previous two contests after he missed 10 games with a fractured hand.
“[Kimble] was voted captain for a reason,” said St. Joseph’s coach Phil Martelli. “[Kimble], in the first half, got us [to] where we felt comfortable.”
La Salle (9-19, 7-9 Atlantic 10) was without graduate student guard Pookie Powell, who missed his second straight game with a lower-body injury. In the previous game, La Salle junior guards Isiah Deas and Traci Carter had career highs in points with 25 and 24, respectively.
Against St. Joseph’s, the Explorers’ backcourt duo couldn’t step up again. Deas and Carter struggled to get anything going and combined for 24 points on 4-for-20 shooting from the floor.
“When we’ve had difficulty scoring the ball, like we did tonight, you can go to [Powell], and he is a talent that can go out there and manufacture baskets on his own,” said La Salle head coach Ashley Howard. “We didn’t have that tonight.”
St. Joseph’s (13-16, 6-10) led by 33-26 at halftime.
A 12-5 run in the five minutes after the break by the Hawks created a double-digit lead. St. Joseph’s took its largest lead of the game, 49-32, with 12 minutes, 57 seconds left in the game.
The Explorers attempted to claw their way back, but poor shooting -- 16-for-51 from the field (31 percent) -- dug them into a hole too big to climb out. La Salle cut the lead to nine, but it wasn’t enough.
Martelli credited his team’s defense with the win.