PHILADELPHIA, PA. 11/16/2013 – The Saint Joseph’s Hawks made a gallant comeback against the Creighton Blue Jays, the team who beat the Hawks by 29 points last season. Saint Joe’s led 79 – 78 with 27.5 seconds to play. On the ensuing possession a miscommunication on defense allowed Doug McDermott, a national player of the year candidate for the Blue Jays, to slip free and make jump shot from the left side to put his team in front. McDermott was fouled on the play and converted the free throw to provide some space for Creighton who earn an 83 – 79 win at the Hagan Arena. The Hawks had their chance to win, but Phil Martelli felt the loss was attributable to an overall need to communicate better, pointing to the coaches as well.
“We didn’t do a good job on our defensive communication,” said Martelli.
“It was a circle play and he (McDermott) came clear. We missed a communication.”
Saint Joseph’s trailed by 7 points with 4:12 remaining on a layup by McDermott. The comeback began with 5 straight SJU points, a dunk by senior forward Ronald Roberts and a three-pointer by freshman forward DeAndre’ Bembry cutting the deficit to 74 – 72 at the 3:16 mark. The team battled back and forth with the lead not greater than four points. Junior guard Chris Wilson nailed one form beyond the arc and the Hawks were down 78 – 77. Creighton guard Grant Gibbs committed an offensive foul to give the ball back the Saint Joe’s. Senior guard Langston Galloway missed a three-point shot, but Roberts got the rebound and was fouled on the follow-up by Ethan Wragge. Roberts converted and the Hawks took the one-point lead.
With fouls to give Saint Joseph’s did not let Creighton get any offensive momentum. Off an inbounds play the Blue Jays star player got open and converted his jumper and the foul shot with 4.9 seconds on the clock. Saint Joseph’s senior forward Halil Kanacevic tried to get out and cover an open McDermott, but would up committing the foul.
“It was a set play, a reverse to get open,” McDermott said of the play.
“Their bigs miscommunicated on the screens and I got open.”
“Our guys kept playing and took the lead, and they made a shot with five seconds to play” said Martelli.
Saint Joseph’s tried a long pass down court to try for the winning basket, but Devin Brooks stepped in front stealing the ball and making two free throws for the final margin of victory.
The Hawks had an early double-digit lead and held a 45 – 40 advantage at halftime. The Blue Jays were better in the second half and lead by as many as eight points.
McDermott scored 20 points shooting 7 of 14 from the field (1 of 2 from distance) and sunk 5 of 7 free throws. Wragge scored a game-high 21 points making 7 of 11 three-pointers. Brooks added 16 points and Gibbs scored 11.
Bembry led the Hawks with 20 points converting 4 three’s. The freshman earned praise from his coach.
“That was not a game for an 18-year-old,” Martelli said. “He doesn’t play like an 18-year-old. His shooting has been better because he believes the ball is going to go in the basket.”
Wilson was hot from outside draining 6 of 11 three-point shots for 18 points. Galloway added 14 points and Roberts scored 13. Kanacevic filed the stat sheet for Saint Joe’s with 10 rebounds and 10 assists in addition to his 5 points.
Saint Joseph’s is 2 – 1 on the young season and have 12 days off before meeting LSU in the Old Spice Classic in Orlando, Florida. The team will build on the positive from this game.
“One of the intangible pieces was to grow as a team,” said Martelli. “We led for much of the game. Now, we have to carry it over.”
Written By: Glenn Papazian