1) DeAndre Bembry set a milestone Wednesday night, scoring his 1,000th career point at Saint Joseph's. He is the 52nd player in school history to reach that mark. Bembry scored his thousandth point on a driving and-one lay-up from the left wing mid-way through the first half. It was another relatively quiet night for the junior wing, who finished with 10 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists. He's played the role of distributor early on this year. Over the weekend, the Hawks will need him to add a scoring punch as they compete against the likes of Florida.
2) Isaiah Miles is playing like a man possessed. The senior from Baltimore poured in a career-high 24 points Wednesday evening. 16 of them came in the first half. Miles was 7-11 from the field, 2-5 from downtown, and 8-8 from the free throw line. It was Miles' second double-double in three games this year. He is shooting 12-12 from the free throw line this year, 5-12 from three, and showing off newfound athleticism. He had another huge put-back dunk tonight, this one coming in the second half off a James Demery missed lay-up. He's certainly stepping up to the plate as a senior. If he can continue playing at this level, the Hawks have a bona fide second star next to Bembry.
3) The offense isn't offensive. The Hawks have already broken the 80-point barrier twice this year, and broke 70 in their other win. Last year, the Hawks didn't break 80 once and only broke 70 five times, who of which were overtime games. This year's team is shooting better from the field and the free throw line. The point guards (who I will get to next) are moving the ball and preventing it from getting pounded into the ground. There is less weaving. When the level of competition steps up, we'll see what happens with the scoring, but so far they've looked completely different from a year ago.
4) The point guard play tonight was about as good as you could ask for from a freshman and a sophomore. Shavar Newkirk finished with 12 points, 2 assists, and 2 rebounds. He was 4-7 from the field and 3-3 from the line. He's now 11-13 from the line on the year, a marked improvement over his 57% shooting a year ago. Newkirk is stronger and more confident this year as well, which he demonstrated on a pretty step-through bank shot off the dribble-drive tonight. Freshman Lamarr Kimble had the best game of his college career tonight, pouring in 9 points to go along with 4 assists. Kimble had a great sequence in the second half where he nailed a wing three, found a cutting Aaron Brown to the basket for a tough lay-in, then had a strong drive and finish. Kimble and Newkirk are different types of lead guards, and their ability to sub in and out for each other and provide a different look, without a drop-off in play, is a great option for Phil Martelli.
5) James Demery seems to be embracing his new role. Coming off the bench this year, Demery is slashing and crashing his way into his niche. James had 13 points tonight, including a catch-and-shoot three, to go along with 6 rebounds and his usual impressive defense. His free throw shooting remains a concern, but his added strength is really aiding his ability to slash and finish. He's becoming a great spark off the bench, which every good team needs.
The 3-0 Hawks now see their level of competition ratchet up. They will play Florida on Saturday then either Purdue or Old Dominion Sunday. I'll have an in-depth Florida preview up Friday.
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