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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

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St. Joe’s men’s basketball confident about A-10 tournament

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The road to an Atlantic 10 Conference title will not be an easy one this year for the St. Joe’s men’s basketball team. Currently sitting in 10th place in the A-10 standings, the Hawks’ final regular season games will determine whether the team will have a first round bye in the conference tournament or is one of four teams who have to play in the tournament’s opening day. St. Joe’s has captured a first round bye in seven of the last eight years.

The A-10 Tournament returns to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York this year, where the Hawks came away with a conference title the last time the tournament was held there in 2016. The Hawks have won two of the four A-10 tournaments that have been held in Brooklyn.

Despite being a team that by their own admission has underachieved, redshirt junior guard and Captain Lamarr Kimble said the team could be dangerous once they get to the postseason.

“I don’t think a team wants us to be there as a first round matchup, and we’re still confident that we can win the whole thing and that’s scary,” Kimble said. “Once the pieces start to come together, I think we’ll be very dangerous and it will be hard for teams to go against us in Brooklyn.”

Redshirt junior guard Lamarr Kimble shoots a layup in the Hawk’s game against La Salle University.

Kimble knows what it takes to win an A-10 Championship. He was a key contributor as a freshman for the program’s last conference title winning team in 2016.

Senior guard Chris Clover was also part of that team and said one thing he sees in common between this year’s team and his freshman year team is the competitiveness.

“We have guys that want to win,” Clover said. “We really hate losing, it’s not something we’re used to. Knowing that I have a championship, I try to tell these guys that you have a winning attitude each and every day and come in here and work hard each and every day.”

According to Clover, the injuries and struggles throughout the regular season have only tightened the team’s bond and served as motivation going into the tournament.

“I felt like we’ve built a lot of chemistry and even though there have been ups and downs it makes us more hungry to win, and that’s something that we can bring into the A-10 Tournament,” Clover said.

Despite the inconsistency this season, the ultimate goal the team set out to accomplish at the beginning of the year has not wavered, according to redshirt sophomore guard Lorenzo Edwards.

“The goal hasn’t changed,” Edwards said. “We haven’t had the record we’ve wanted, but it’s always the same. We want an A-10 Championship.

Edwards, who has found an increased role in the offense recently, said the key to accomplishing their goal is defense.

“When we want to play defense we can really lock down and strap up, and when we have shots falling, I feel like it helps with our defense,” Edwards said. ”Making shots can bring us to get more stops and then I feel like we can be a scary team to play.”

The Hawks are coming off of a Big 5 and A-10 win over La Salle University that brought them within one game of the Explorers. The Hawks will cap off their regular season against Virginia Commonwealth University, who currently sits atop the A-10 standings.

Clover makes a pass against La Salle.

“We just want to go out there and finish these last couple regular season games with a bang,” Clover said. “We’re just trying to get our rhythm going, get everyone on the same page so we can make a run in this A-10 Tournament.”

As a team that was picked to finish second in the league’s 2018-19 men’s basketball preseason poll and is now struggling to stay out of the bottom four, experts originally saw the Hawks as a team that could compete at the top of the A-10. Inside the locker room, these sentiments have not changed despite their standing.

“[The goal] is still an A-10 Championship,” Kimble said. “It never changed. I know that could be hard for other people to see, but in between the lines and in the locker room, we all have the same goal and we believe that once we get to Brooklyn we can still make a lot of noise.”

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