By PAUL GOTHAM
BROOKLYN — Lamarr Kimble resisted temptation.
Less than seven minutes remained in a single-digit game. Kimble broke into the open court with a steal, and it looked the Saint Joseph’s freshman would cap a 14-point comeback and knot the score, but the Philadelphia native chose to stop and look for a better option.
Seconds later, James Demery connected on his only 3-point attempt of the afternoon to give Saint Joseph’s its first lead of the second half at 70-69 en route to an 86-80 come-from-behind victory over George Washington in the quarter-finals of the Atlantic 10 Championship at the Barclays Center.
“Coach always talks about taking it a possession at a time you know volume of possessions,” said the Saint Joseph’s point guard nicknamed “Fresh.” “I decided to bring it out, work the offense. James happened to be open. He made a big bucket for us.”
Minutes earlier, Kimble drove aggressively from the wing and finished with a floater over Joe McDonald drawing contact to get to the line. His 3-point play pulled Saint Joseph’s within one at 64-63.
On the go-ahead play, Kimble opted to pass.
“As a point guard, your job is to get the best shots for your team, to set people up in position to get the best shot,” Kimble explained. “As me being the point guard I felt like it wasn’t that time to force something right there. We were making a run. Let’s get a better shot than what I could have possibly put up. It went through and James came up big for us.”
Kimble finished with 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting including 2-of-2 behind the arc. He also handed out two assists in 22 minutes of playing time.
“‘Fresh’ has always played with a brighter mind than a young player,” Saint Joseph’s head coach Phil Martelli said. “He’s just a bright guy. He says the right things. If you listen to him, he’s talking to his older teammates about this stop, this stop, this stop, this is what we want to get.
“He’s a credit to the way he’s been raised in basketball, and I’m not a big cliché guy, but you want to know what a Philadelphia guard looks like, then look at “Fresh” Kimble.
Connecting on 11-of-16 from behind the arc in the first half, George Washington jumped to a double-digit lead less ten minutes in to the game.
Paul Jorgensen hit one of his three triples in the first half for a 24-14 Colonials lead. Tyler Cavanaugh‘s jumper with 10 seconds remaining in the half gave George Washington its biggest lead of the game 49-33.
DeAndre’ Bembry capped a 9-0 run with a 3-pointer to pull the Hawks within four at 52-48.
McDonald paced George Washington with 15. Patricio Garino, Jorgenson and Alex Mitola scored 11 apiece for GW. Kevin Larsen fell one assist shy of a triple-double with 10 points, a game-high 11 rebounds.
Saint Joseph’s moves on to play Dayton in the semi-finals of the Atlantic 10 Championship. A 1:30 p.m. tipoff is scheduled. The game will be televised on CBS Sports Network.