After their last second win over the Cincinnati Bearcats, the Saint Joseph's Hawks advance to take on the Oregon Ducks in the second round. Hailing from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the Hawks are led with a fast paced offense with athletic big men Isaiah Miles and DeAndre Bembry.
League- A 10
Record- 28-7 overall, 13-5 in A 10
Key wins- vs Dayton 79-79, vs VCU 87-74, vs Cincinnati 78-76
Key losses- vs Villanova 86-72, vs VCU 85-82, St Bonaventure (2 losses)
The Hawks are coming in to the round of 32 with mometum after beating the defensive minded Bearcats in the final minute in Friday night's game in Spokane. With the win, Saint Joseph's is now trending in the right direction as they have piled up four straight wins. These wins are coming off of two straight losses to begin March. The losses have been scattered throughout the season for Saint Joseph's, having two different win streaks of seven games and the longest losing streak being the two games to start off March.
In the tough A 10 conference, the Hawks record was good to place them second, just one game behind the three way tie at the top of Dayton, VCU, and St Bonaventure. However, thanks to three straight wins in the tournament, the Hawks claimed the conference tournament crown. The A 10 had a decent start to tournament play, going 2-1 in the opening weekend.
DeAndre Bembry, #43, Junior forward, 6' 6", 210 lbs.
PPG: 17.5 RPG: 7.6 APG: 4.5
Bembry is one of the big reasons that the Hawks are still dancing. The junior forward paced Saint Joseph's in the win with 23 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists (the biggest of which the pass to Isaiah Miles for the game winner). Bembry is a tough matchup with his athleticism and shooting ability, look for Dwayne Benjamin to play a lot of minutes on him. Last night Bembry shot well above his season average on three's as he shot 60% compared to his season average of 27.2%.
Isaiah Miles, #15, Senior forward, 6' 7", 227 lbs.
PPG: 18.4 RPG: 8.4 BPG: 1.0
Relatively quiet for most of the game against Cincinnati, Miles stepped up huge knocking down the go-ahead three with just seconds to play. Similar to Bembry, Miles is a lanky forward who does a little bit of everything. The difference between the two is that Miles has more muscles on him, looking to be a better matchup for Elgin Cook. What's scary about Miles is that he can disappear for large stretches of the game, only to reappear in a large way. He's also been hot of late going for 21.7 per game over his last five.
Team athleticism. Saint Joeseph's will be coming in to the matchup with Oregon feeling confident with the matchup seeing that they have the athleticism to match the Ducks. Bembry and Miles are a versatile combo that's a tough matchup for many. This athleticism combines to give the Hawks close to 78 points of offense per game. However, i still view the Hawks as a better matchup for Oregon than a potential Cincinnati would have been.
Team defense. Too many times against Cincinnati, the Hawks defense looked lackadaisical and disinterested. Allowing dribble penetration at will along with second chance opportunities was a major weakness. Cincinnati just kept plugging away down ten in the second half to chip away and bring themselves back in the game. In all losses this year, Saint Joseph's has given up 74 more points or more.