Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Kimble's propels Hawks to win, 3-0 start

St. Joe's sophomore guard Lamarr Kimble poured in a career-high 26 points Friday afternoon in a 71-57 win over Loyola (CHI). With the win, St. Joe's improved to 3-0 on the young season and set up a date Sunday night with Ole Miss in the Paradise Jam semifinals.

On Monday night, Lamarr 'Fresh' Kimble set a career-high with 19 points in a crushing 85-65 Hawk win over Columbia.  Friday, in the US Virgin Islands, Fresh took it one step further, reestablishing his career-high, knocking down 5-8 threes, and hitting clutch shots down the clutch en route to his new career high of 26 points.

The Hawks' two point guard system continues to work.  In the season-opener against Toledo, Shavar Newkirk and Lamarr Kimble combined for 44 points, with Newkirk's 28 and Kimble's 16 both career-high numbers.  On Monday against Columbia, the two point guards combined for 36 points, with Kimble establishing a new career-high there of 19 points.  Then, on Friday afternoon, Kimble and Newkirk combined for 46 points, with Newkirk pouring in 20 and Kimble, for the third game in a row, a new career-high of 26.

St. Joe's raced out early to a 10-2 lead over the Racers on Friday afternoon. Loyola came back quickly though, getting a lay-up from Aundre Jackson to give the Racers a 16-13 lead, and capping an impressive 14-4 run. Tied at 19 minutes later, the Hawks got big back-to-back baskets from Kimble and freshman Charlie Brown.  Kimble buried a three then fed Charlie Brown, who drove baseline and powered home a high-light reel jam, giving the Hawks a 24-19 lead.  St. Joe's would enter the locker room at halftime up 35-26.

Out of the locker room, Loyola made things interesting rather quickly, going on a 9-4 run over the first 2:47 of the half.  It was here that Lamarr Kimble took over the game for the Hawks.  He cooly buried a three to extend the St. Joe's lead back up to 10, at 45-35. Roughly two minutes later, scored at the rim on a tough finish, then moments later hit another three.  Then a few minutes later, it was another Kimble three.  Kimble's 11 points in that span increased St. Joe's 4-point lead up to 11, and the Hawks led Loyola 56-45.  Loyola did pull as close as 60-54 with a 9-2 run of their own, but St. Joe's didn't allow them any closer, hitting 9-11 from the line in the closing minutes, and securing a 71-57 win.

Aundre Jackson led the way for Loyola, finishing with 22 points on 9-11 shooting from the field.  The Ramblers turned it over 19 times, compared to 15 for the Hawks. St. Joe's out-rebounded Loyola 32-30 and went 22-29 from the line, as opposed to Loyola, who went 9-12, attempting 17 fewer free throws.

Outside of Kimble and Newkirk, Charlie Brown was the brightest light offensively for the Hawks, finishing with 9 points and 6 rebounds to go along with 3 steals. Walk-on Brendan Casper, who is earning more significant playing time with junior James Demery out for an extended period of time here with a foot injury, had 6 points and 3 rebounds in his 22 minutes off the bench.  Chris Clover, who had a career-high 11 points Monday against Columbia, was scoreless in his 11 minutes of game action Friday.

St. Joe's now advances to play Ole Miss Sunday night in the Paradise Jam semifinals.  Ole Miss defeated Oral Roberts 95-88 in overtime courtesy of 42 points from transfer DeAndre Burnett.  Burnett went 9-12 from downtown.  His teammates however went a combined 3-14 from deep.  Ole Miss has an intimidating front line, with 6'9, 240-pound senior Sebastian Saiz and 6'6, 200-pound junior Justas Furmanavicius.  They also bring in 6'7, 215-pound Marcanvis Hymon off the bench, and he had 8 points and a team-high 11 boards in Friday's overtime win.

The Rebels are 3-0, with wins against UT-Martin, Mass, and Oral Roberts.  Sunday's game will be a tough task for a Hawk squad that was already without Pierfrancesco Oliva for the season, and are now without lock-down defender James Demery, who likely would have been tasked with guarding Burnett.  That will now fall on, in all likelihood, freshmen Nick Robinson and Charlie Brown.  Tall task for those two, who will be playing just their fourth college games.

I will have a full game-day preview on Ole Miss up Sunday morning.

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