Monday Afternoon Round-Up

On Sunday afternoon, St. Joe's shook off a slow start to win their fifth in a row, beating La Salle 69-48 at Tom Gola Arena. St. Joe's got another terrific all-around performance from junior DeAndre Bembry, as well as 25 points from the bench. Inside we look back at Sunday's win while also looking forward to the week ahead

For roughly 12 minutes on Sunday afternoon, St. Joe's looked like it could be in for a complete let-down of a loss. The Hawks looked sluggish, lethargic, and at times lost. A Cleon Roberts jumper at the 8:20 mark of the first half gave La Salle a shocking 19-8 lead over the Hawks. In came Lamarr Kimble, and less than five minutes, Saint Joseph's completely erased their early 11-point deficit. St. Joe's closed the first half on a 20-3 run over those final 8 minutes, to take a 28-22 lead into halftime.

In the second half, it was all Hawks. Isaiah Miles scored eight straight, and a DeAndre Bembry dunk in transition off the dish from Shavar Newkirk allowed SJU to open up a comfortable 44-28 lead, pushing their run to 36-9 over roughly 17 minutes. The game's final segments turned into a Hawk dunk-fest, with Pierfrancesco Oliva, James Demery, Markell Lodge, and DeAndre Bembry all throwing down highlight reel dunks en route to the 69-48 victory.

The Hawks had three players in double figures, led by Bembry's 16. Senior Isaiah Miles chipped in with 14 points and 9 rebounds, while Lamarr Kimble Kimble scored 10, putting him in double-figures for the second time in three games. Kimble and James Demery (9 points) were huge sparks off the bench for the Hawks.

Demery went 5-6 from the free throw line Sunday, pushing his free throw percentage for the year up to 64%. He's 13-17 (76%) in his last five games. While Demery continues to inject life into the Hawks' both offensively and defensively off the bench, another underclassman is now getting into the action. After a really rough seven-game stretch, freshman Lamarr Kimble has now pieced together three straight strong outings. Kimble is averaging 9.3 points per game off the bench over the last three, wins over Fordham, Penn, and La Salle. He's 10-18 (55%) from the field and 4-6 (67%) from three in these games. If Demery and Kimble can continue to provide this spark off the bench, it makes the Hawks that much more dangerous down the stretch this year.

The Hawks are currently 16-3, and rest with an RPI of 35 per today's NCAA update. At the moment, St. Joe's two best wins are Princeton (64) and Temple (70). However, the Hawks have major opportunities ahead still, in Dayton (10), George Washington (31), and Davidson (55), among others.

St. Joe's returns to action on Wednesday when they host UMass in a game they should be heavily favored in. From there, the Hawks have 11 remaining, and it's easiest to break those games down into two segments. The first has the Hawks traveling to URI, then hosting Saint Bonaventure, then traveling to Fordham, at George Washington, and La Salle at home. If the Hawks can knock off UMass, they will enter that five-game stretch at 17-3, and 6-1 in league play.

A win Wednesday would see that the Hawks survived this stretch of games where a loss would be tough to overcome. Nearly all mock brackets have the Hawks either among the last teams in the tournament or the first teams out. A win Wednesday would allow them to enter that home stretch and truly either earn or lose an at-large bid. It will be all up to them.

Tomorrow, I will have a full recruiting run-down from the last week up, then Wednesday morning a UMass preview.

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