Strong second half propels Hawks past Mass

On Wednesday night, St. Joe’s came one step closer to an NCAA bid when they traveled to Amherst and knocked off UMass 74-57. St. Joe’s now stands at 23-5 (12-3) with three games to play. Get the latest on last night’s win and where the Hawks stand inside.

Isaiah Miles, DeAndre Bembry, and Aaron Brown carried the Hawks on Wednesday night, combining for 52 points, 22 rebounds, and 11 assists. Isaiah Miles went 4-5 from downtown en route to a game-high 20 points. He also corralled 9 boards. DeAndre Bembry was limited to 31 minutes due to foul trouble, but still finished with a stat line of 18 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists, and 3 steals. Aaron Brown (14 points) and Lamarr Kimble (10) also finished in double digits.

St. Joe’s led 35-31 at the half, following a Bembry bucket at the buzzer out of a timeout. The Hawks began to pull away right away in the second half though. After UMass pulled within 35-33, St. Joe’s went on a 22-7 run to give them a 57-40 lead with just over 11 minutes to play. From there on, the Hawks mostly coasted, upping their lead to as many as 21 in the closing minutes.

Moments after the final whistle blew in Amherst, VCU lost at George Mason, causing a mess atop the Atlantic 10 standings. St. Joe’s, Dayton, and VCU all stand at 12-3 now with just three games to go.

The Hawks’ final three games are Saint Louis at home, at Saint Bonaventure, then Duquesne at home. VCU plays at George Washington, Davidson at home, then at Dayton. Dayton hosts Rhode Island, then plays at Richmond before closing the year out at home against VCU.

At 23-5, St. Joe's currently has an official NCAA RPI of 25. The Hawks hold wins over Dayton (17), Princeton (37), and George Washington (48) within the top 50, then Temple (56) in the top 100. Illinois State is just outside the top 100 at 103, but can clearly play themselves into a top 100 position.

St. Joe's has four top 100 wins, and certainly of note, no sub-100 losses. The Hawks finish the year with a top 50 opponent (Saint Bonaventure), and then two landmines, in Saint Louis (196) and Duquesne (142). Both of those games are home. If the Hawks can take care of business with those two, they should be in great position come Selection Sunday regardless of the A10 tournament.

We are now just over two weeks away from Selection Sunday, with three regular season games and the conference tournament still ahead. I will have a full Saint Louis preview up Saturday morning, complete with a list of recruits expected to be in attendance.

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