To say Saint Joseph’s stumbled out of the gate on Tuesday night at Hagan Arena would be an understatement.
The Hawks would quickly dig themselves into an 18-7 hole behind a dreadful 2-for-12 shooting from the field to start the game.
From there, the Hawks would find a spark, however, as they dominated Loyola for the final 28 minutes of play, outscoring the Greyhounds 61-24 on their way to a dominant 68-42 win.
“The energy from Shavar Newkirk turned the game around,” Saint Joseph’s Coach Phil Martelli said. “We were floundering. Worried again about the ball going in the basket and he came out and played with some spunk when we were down 18-7.”
After falling down by as much as 11, the Hawks would seemingly transform into a different team, however, buckling down on defense and beginning to make some shots as they took a 21-20 lead, their first of the game, with 1:48 remaining in the first half.
That first lead would come courtesy of five straight points from DeAndre’ Bembry, and the sophomore would show no signs of slowing down from there, hitting a three-pointer at the buzzer to send the Hawks to the locker room with a 28-24 lead.
Bembry and the Hawks would emerge from the locker room even hotter than they entered it, as Bembry continued to rack up the points and grow the Hawks lead to an insurmountable size.
“The second half offense was really a direct reflection of our defense,” Martelli said.
“We played great team defense tonight, so that got us a lot of fast break points and that helped us on the offensive end,” Bembry said. “We felt more confident to shoot the ball. That definitely helped us.”
Behind 21 points and seven rebounds from Bembry, the Hawks would turn around their early struggles, finishing in the end with a dominant 68-42 win over Loyola to move to 5-4 on the season.
“On offense he [Bembry] has to go slower and on defense he has to go faster. That’s what we’re looking for,” Martelli said. “But, that crown is heavy when you’re the best player on a team that struggles to score.”
By: Kyle Babcock
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