PHILADELPHIA, PA. 11/15/2015 – At the start of the game the Saint Joseph’s Hawks looked sluggish. The leading scorer DeAndre’ Bembry was held without a point in the first half. Coach Phil Martelli challenged the team to start fast in the second half. They did and came away with a 7 – 62 win over the Niagara Purple Eagles at the Hagan Arena in the Hall of Fame Tip-Off.
Saint Joe’s lead 34 – 28 at halftime. Niagara hit the first basket of the half, a three-pointer to get to within a possession. Then Bembry scored 8 straight points to extend the lead to 42 – 31. The run seemed to raise the intensity level of the team. The Hawks who continued the run scoring 14 of the next 16 points to take control leading 56 – 33 with 11:26 to play. Niagara would not get to within less than 10 for the rest of the game.
“When we see DeAndre’ going well we got pumped,” said forward Isaiah Miles. “We all pick each other up, even if Oliva scored 8 straight, we’d all be pumped. There is no selfishness on this team. It’s a brotherhood.”
The defensive effort in the second half also created distance. Niagara made just two baskets in the first 12 minutes of the half as the Saint Joseph’s lead grew to as many as 24 points.
Bembry finished with 12 points and added 6 rebounds and 7 assists. The Hawks were led in scoring by Miles and Aaron Brown who had 14 points each. Pierfrancesco (Checco) Oliva contributed 12 points and a team-best 8 rebounds. This year the Hawks have options and the players want to contribute.
“On this team we have Checco who is another play maker,” said Bembry. “Shavar (Newkirk) is a lot better. We have guys who are making plays. That’s the big thing for us.”
Saint Joseph’s is 2 – 0 on the season. They will continue Tip-Off play on Wednesday hosting Buffalo. Learning lessons on the way.
“The beauty is that we are going to practice with two wins,” said Martelli. “You can learn from winning, too.”
Written By: Glenn Papazian