PHILADELPHIA, PA. 2/28/2016 – The Saint Joseph’s Hawks earned a victory that was much tougher than the final score may indicate. The final was Saint Joe’s 77 and the Saint Louis Billikens 63. But the Hawks got the win and with that a share of first place in the Atlantic 10 along with VCU, and a double-bye in the upcoming Atlantic 10 Tournament.
In this type of situation the team needs its leaders to step up. Saint Joseph’s got the needed production from DeAndre’ Bembry and Isaiah Miles. Bembry scored a season-high tying 27 points on 11 of 16 shooting. The junior forward also added 8 rebounds and 6 assists. Miles contributed 18 points. There was a sense of importance to their efforts.
“Definitely,” said Bembry. “We gave up games so we know the feeling. We just want to finish out the season and try to come in first place. You have to win games to do that.”
The Hawks led 65 – 60 with 3:51 to play when Billikens forward and former Villanova player Ash Yacoubou hit a three-pointer. Senior guard Aaron Brown nailed a three that started a 7 – 0 run over the next minute and a half to put the game in control for Saint Joe’s. Bembry put the exclamation point on the game with two thunder dunks, one a reverse.
For the game Saint Joseph’s shot 48.1% (26 of 54) and made 6 of 24 from beyond the arc. The Hawks had 21 assists on their 26 field goals. They wold need that as the Billikens made 45.5% of their shots, 7 from distance. SJU had 19 free throws to 6 for SLU. Still, the Hawks had to earn it all throughout the game.
“When you come out of a game with 21 assist on 26 baskets and shoot 60% in a tight spot, credit Saint Louis, a young team that was not in awe,” said Saint Joseph’s Coach Phil Martelli.
Jermaine Bishop led Saint Louis with 15 points. Mike Crawford scored 14 points and took down 6 rebounds.
Saint Joseph’s improves to 24 – 5 and are 13 – 3 in the Atlantic 10. Next up for the Hawks is a trip to Olean, NY to meet St. Bonaventure, a team that beat Saint Joe’s here 83 – 73 on February 3. A win would be number 400 for Coach Phil Martelli.
“We have to get ready for Wednesday,” Martelli said. “This is not about revenge. They beat us. For forty minutes they were the better team. They were better prepared, executed better, and we have to answer it.”
Written By: Glenn Papazian