Coming off a 52-point loss to #13 Gonzaga, there was only one direction for Saint Joseph’s to go: up. Despite that, the Hawks didn’t exactly instill confidence in the fans at Hagan Arena early in Saturday night’s contest, quickly falling behind the Vermont Catamounts 11-1.
The Hawks would begin to hunker down defensively, however, as the offense came to life on an 11-0 run to give Saint Joseph’s a 19-16 lead. The Hawks would maintain their lead from there, topping Vermont 68-60 in the end to improve to 2-2 on the season.
Saint Joseph’s would find themselves trailing early, as the Hawks started the game just 2-for-13 shooting. Phil Martelli’s inexperienced squad would maintain their composure, however, utilizing a full court press to help slow the Catamounts down.
“I think that we made a little adjustment in the press and not so much that we turned them over, but we got the game at least in some kind of flow,” Martelli said.
The Hawks would begin to find a bit of an offensive groove as the first half wore on, taking a 32-26 lead to the locker room with the help of some corner threes from Miles late in the half.
“I thought there was no panic. There were some panic plays and we have to clean those up and we have to get more from individual guys,” Martelli said.
Saint Joseph’s would come out of the locker room strong, as DeAndre’ Bembry began to click offensively. Bembry would score 8 points in the first 6:30 of the second half, breaking out of the offensive slump that had plagued the sophomore during the Hawks’ first three games of the season.
“I would definitely say I was a little more calm today. I’ve been putting a lot of pressure on myself, so today was definitely a better day for me,” Bembry said of his improved offensive play.
With Bembry finally performing to his capabilities and the defense buckling down, the Hawks were able to maintain their lead throughout the second half, forcing 18 turnovers and coming up with 13 steals i the game, as they topped Vermont, 68-60.
Bembry would finish with a game high 22 points and nine rebounds, but would commit six turnovers in the Hawks’ win, leaving Martelli with plenty to work on with his squad.
“We have to eliminate bonehead plays. We can’t be a team that has 15 turnovers when we’re going to struggle to score points,” Martelli said.
By: Kyle Babcock
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