Courtesy of SJUHawks.com
PHILADELPHIA — James Demery scored 19 points and Taylor Funk had 18 to lead five players in double figures as Saint Joseph’s defeated Dayton, 81-65, in Atlantic 10 action at Hagan Arena, to snap a two-game losing streak.
Demery shot 7-for-11 from the field while Funk was 4-of-8 from three-point range, while Shavar Newkirk scored 17 points and Chris Clover added 10 for Saint Joseph’s (8-9; 3-3 A-10). Nick Robinson, who missed Tuesday’s practice with the flu, tied his season-high with 13 points . Pierfrancesco Oliva returned to action after missing Sunday’s loss at UMass with the flu and had a game-high 15 rebounds despite not scoring a point.
It was Saint Joseph’s ninth consecutive win over Dayton at home, as the Flyers’ last win at SJU came on January 29, 2000.
Both teams came out firing from three-point range early in the game and Dayton scored its first 12 points on threes, with Crutcher connecting on three of them in the first four minutes.
The teams were deadlocked, 20-20, midway through the half before Saint Joseph’s went on a 7-0 run to take a 27-20 lead. Then just a minute later, the Hawks built upon a 29-23 lead by again scoring seven straight points, including a three-point play from Demery, to take their biggest lead of the half, 36-23, at 4:32.
Demery would finish the half with 15 points as Saint Joseph’s shot 50 percent from the field and owned a 42-30 lead at the break.
The Hawks kept in going at the start of the second, and used another 7-0 run to take their biggest lead to that point, 52-33. Saint Joseph’s increased the margin to 21 points, 57-36 at 15:23, after five straight points from Funk.
Dayton trimmed its deficit to 65-49 with 8:27 remaining, but the Hawks ran off 12 consecutive points as Newkirk hit five in a row, and Saint Joseph’s had its biggest lead of the game, 77-49.
“Defensive patience made a difference. They were four for their first six on threes and we watched them shoot VCU out of the state of Ohio, but we stayed the course. I thought we did a nice job offensively against the zone, which has hurt us this year,” said SJU coach Phil Martelli. “The players deserve a lot of credit. Monday was just a recovery day, and we were able to follow a good game plan with only one day of practice. It’s nice to be the home team and again, we take the win but there’s more that we can accomplish with this group.”
SJU, which ranks second in the nation in fewest turnovers, committed nine on the evening and shot a season-best 49.2 percent from the field in the game. The Hawks also held a 43-32 edge in rebounding.
Dayton took 38 three-point attempts in the game, making 13, and also committed 11 turnovers.
The Hawks will host Fordham on Saturday, January 20 at Hagan Arena in a 1 p.m. start.