PHILADELPHIA, PA 12/29/2013 – The key to the victory for the Saint Joseph’s Hawks was in the ability to play well on defense which gets the offense going. The Hawks erased a seven-point halftime deficit by holding the Boston University Terriers to 37.9% shooting (11-29), and put up 45 points in the second half to earn a 73 – 67 win at the Hagan Arena.
“The defensive performance in the second half is what I take away,” said Saint Joseph’s coach Phil Martelli. “I thought we made them shoot over us. In the beginning of the half they were out running us. We talked about the pace we wanted to play. We are not the fastest team, but there is no chance we should get out run.”
The lesson was not lost on Saint Joseph’s forward DeAndre Bembry who was on the bench in the second half for not playing well on the defensive end of the floor. Once the situation was addressed and apparently rectified, Bembry returned to the floor. He was a player the Hawks would need to win. Bembry responded by keying a 14 – 2 Saint Joseph’s run that turned a 7-point deficit into a 61 – 56 lead with just under five minutes to play. Bembry started the run with a three-point basket and scored 9 points in that three and a half-minute span.
“I wasn’t playing defense well,” Bembry said. “I got in early foul trouble. In the second half I calmed down. I was out of control in the first half. I just tried to calm down and play regular basketball.”
“That run definitely helped us,” said Bembry. “Playing defense and getting some transition baskets helped out for us.”
The Hawks closed out the game making 10 of 12 from the free throw line. The lead would grow to as many as 9 points.
In the first half it was different as the Terriers made 15 of 33 from the floor (45.5%). The Hawks made 11 of 26. In the latter half, when the defense was more intense, more shots fell. It spelled the difference.
“No question about it,” Martelli said. “I was not concerned offensively as I thought we were doing some nice things. Pace of the game. Even though we didn’t shoot well, we are walking out of here scoring 73 points, we had a 45 point half. What we wanted to run, we ran. we didn’t shoot the ball well.”
On offense the Hawks showed balance as four players scored in double figures led by senior forward Ronald Roberts and junior guard Chris Wilson with 19 points each. Senior guard Langston Galloway scored 16 points while adding 4 assists, and Bembry netted 11 points. Senior forward Halil Kanacevic scored 6 points and added 8 rebounds and 7 assists. Roberts also took down 8 rebounds. Boston guard Maurice Watson, Jr. scored a game-high 21 points while handing out 7 assists.
The Hawks improve to 7 – 4 on the season. They take the floor n December 31, 2013 to host Binghamton. Saint Joe’s goes in with a three-game winning streak, and is gaining some momentum.
“It’s a good win, and obviously much-needed,” Martelli said. “You’ve got to get a rhythm, a feel, and we play again on Tuesday. There is more. We can and we have to play much better.”
Written By: Glenn Papazian