Senior night special one for Wilson, Hawks

In his final game at Hagan Arena, St. Joe's senior point guard Chris Wilson turned in a memorable performance, dropping a game-high 22 points in a 55-50 win over city rival La Salle. Wilson shot 5-9 from three en route to his 22 points, with none bigger than one in the game's final minute to put the Hawks up two possessions. The win improved the Hawks to 13-16, and 7-10 in Atlantic 10 play.

With his parents looking on, St. Joe's senior point guard Chris Wilson put together one of the best performances of his Hawk career, knocking down four threes in the opening half against La Salle. He didn't hit his fifth until there were 39 seconds left in the game, but it was a huge one, putting SJU up 53-48. On a night where DeAndre Bembry and Isaiah Miles shot a combined 5-25 and Aaron Brown was scoreless in just 12 minutes of action, it was Wilson that carried the Hawks to a much-needed win over La Salle.

While Bembry had a rough night shooting the ball, going just 4-19 from the field, he was 6-7 from the free throw line, and finished with 14 points. Bembry finished just one assist shy of a triple-double, his final stat line including 14 points, 13 rebounds, 9 assists, and 3 steals. He did have 5 turnovers as well though, with two down the stretch that made things more interesting than they needed to be. Once again, there were NBA scouts in attendance, and Bembry showed off his defensive prowess and versatility even on a night where his jumper wasn't falling.

Behind Wilson's hot early shooting, St. Joe's jumped out to an early 19-12 lead over the Explorers, scoring 19 points in the game's opening 12 minutes. As they have been prone to do this year though, the Hawks offense went cold over the final 8:04 of the first half, missing eight consecutive shots during that stretch and mustering just five points. A corner three by La Salle's Rohan Brown as the first half expired pulled La Salle within 24-23 at intermission.

The second half began much the same way for the Hawks. Once leading 19-12, St. Joe's found themselves trailing 39-33 after a Jordan Price triple with 11:29 to play, having surrendered a 27-14 run over roughly 16 minutes spanning the two halves. After a fast-break and-one by freshman Shavar Newkirk and a lay-up by James Demery, DeAndre Bembry knocked down two free throws to reclaim the lead for the Hawks, 43-42. Another bucket by Demery, this one a tough banked-in runner off the bounce, gave the Hawks a 46-42 lead, and the Hawks wouldn't look back. In the closing minutes, La Salle did close the SJU lead to one thanks to six straight points from La Salle star Jordan Price. It was then, from straight on, that Chris Wilson knocked down the critical three to re-extend the Hawk lead to 53-50. Bembry iced it with two more from the line, and St. Joe's split the season series with La Salle thanks to their 55-50 win.

By no stretch was this a pretty game. St. Joe's shot 30% from the field, 32% from three, and just 50% from the line. La Salle, on the other hand, went 32% from the line, 36% from three, and 58% from the line. In the end, the Hawks did just enough, with Wilson, Bembry, and Demery combining for 46 of the Hawks' 55 points. It was a solid night for Demery, who finished with 10 points and 6 rebounds, despite shooting just 4-12 from the field.

The win improved Saint Joseph's to 7-10 in Atlantic 10 play, with one game remaining. at Rhode Island Saturday at 2 pm. St. Joe's and La Salle are currently tied for 9th place in the A10 standings, just one game ahead of Duquesne. La Salle hosts Dayton in their season finale while Duquesne is at Fordham. The Atlantic 10 tournament begins next Wednesday in Brooklyn. Saturday's games will determine seeding, with the Hawks, Explorers, and Dukes in a battle for the 9-11 seeds. The team that finishes in 11th place will have to play Wednesday in the play-in game at the Barclay's Center.

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