PHILADELPHIA, PA. 11/13/2015 – It is the start of the season, a season that has rules designed to open up the pace of the game. No one knew how it would play out. What happened was a lot of trips to the foul line, and the Saint Joseph’s Hawks earning an 82 – 81 win over the Drexel Dragons at the Hagan Arena. Hawks junior forward DeAndre’ Bembry headed four Saint Joe’s players in double figures with a game-high 23 points. Bembry made 11 of 15 attempts from the free throw line. It was a learning experience.
“We are going to have to adjust to the college rules with the hands,” said Bembry. “It was both teams first game with it, and the calls went both ways, so we have to adjust to it.”
“It’s going to be hard, hard to watch, but they’ve (the officials) have to make it less physical,” said Saint Joseph’s Coach Phil Martelli. “That’s what they say it’s going to be. It’s going to be zone, guys coming off the bench, and free throws.”
The team shot a combined 67 free throws. Saint Joe’s decided to take the ball to the basket and wound up taking 39 foul shots making 28. Drexel got to the line for 28 attempts converting 18. There were 52 fouls called with the Dragons whistled 29 times.
The start of the game would be important, and the Hawks got the good start getting out to an 18 – 4 lead seven minutes into the contest.
“It was a great start for us,” said Bembry. “Especially with a freshman forward, and that helped him gain some confidence. In the second half he hit a big three for us which helped us at the end.”
That player was forward Pierfrancesco (Checco) Oliva. He contributed 12 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists.
Saint Joe’s took a 44 – 34 lead into halftime. The Dragons would not go away, and kept chipping away at the lead. A dunk by junior forward Rodney Williams with 5:27 to play cut the deficit to 66 – 61. The Hawks responded with an 11 – 4 run that culminated with a dagger three-pointer by Oliva to extend the lead to 77 – 65 at the 2:34 mark.
Drexel mounted another comeback, but could not overcome the lead. A three-pointer by sophomore guard Rashann London, who scored 11 points, at the buzzer yielded the final score,
Senior guard Aaron Brown scored 15 points and senior forward Isaiah Miles recorded his second career double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
“For us to get to 82, we have to be balanced,” Martelli said. “The ball went in the basket. We have to be better.”
Drexel was led by senior guard Tavon Allen with 20 points while Terrell Allen had 18 points.
Saint Joseph’s takes to the court again quickly when they host Niagara in the Hall of Fame Tip-Off on Sunday. Drexel has more turn-around time hosting High Point on November 18.
Written By: Glenn Papazian
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