Recon: St. Joe’s Round 2
The Opponent: The 11-14, 5-8 Hawks of St. Joseph’s University. The game will be played at 7PM at Hagan Arena and can be seen on SNY as well as Comcast Sports Net. The contest is the second in the home and home series between the two schools, SBU won the first meeting back on January 18th by a score of 70-61 despite DeAndre Bembry’s best efforts to single-handedly win the game for the Hawks.
The Rundown on St. Joe’s: St. Joe’s is an improving club, which right now makes them the opposite of our Bonnies. Yes, they’ve lost back to back games but they won two in row before that and nearly knocked off Dayton on the road a few days ago. DeAndre Bembry may be the best player in the entire league and has proven he can win games almost by himself. The Hawks are 3-3 in their last six but have won their last 5 league home games…making Hagan Arena a really tough place to win games right now. This is going to be a fight for the Bonnies and I certainly would not expect a nine point margin to the good this time around. SJU is a young team whose gotten more competitive as the season has gone along and are a better club then when SBU saw them on January 18th. While the Bonnies may have a stronger starting five (maybe…) SJU has Bembry and his talent could be the difference in this contest between two teams fighting for position in the standings.
Foes’ Starting Five:
DeAndre Bembry -The A10s most dynamic and possibly best player, an absolute monster of a sophomore he averages 18 points, 7.3 rebounds, 3.2 assists and shoots 35% from 3 and just 60% from the line. Bembry could score 30 on any given night and makes SJU a dangerous team all by himself. A true NBA prospect despite his “tweener” size on the wing. Also a lock-down defender. Not a true big man but we listed him as one here. #PrayForWhoeverGuardsHim
Isaiah Miles -Scored 23 against Dayton, the big man can shoot it from deep too at a 34% clip, he’s a 76% FT shooter too, a guy who can really burn you. The 6-7 forward has scored 23-12-13 in their last three and has hit 10 of his last 20 three pointers. He’s hot and could be an issue like T.J Cline was….stretch fours have hurt SBU lately.
James Demery-23 minutes a game, he’s just a “guy” can’t shoot it most nights-35% field, 57% line and 16% 3PT.
Chris Wilson-Senior point guard who really isn’t very good at all, simply a “guy” for SJU. If Newkirk was further along he’d be starting by now. Wilson averages 7 a game on 35% shooting, 64% from the line and a putrid 26% from deep. If Wilson beats you so be it.
Aaron Brown-WVU transfer has made an impact in games, scored 10 against Dayton. Brown is averaging 9.9 points and 3.8 boards and shoots 33% from deep. He’s scored in double figures in three of their last five including 21 against SLU. He’s just the type of guy that usually burns the Bonnies in these games.
Their Strength: If you go look through the conference game only stats on the A10 website SJU doesn’t jump out as doing anything really well. So, in this game the strength, or advantage that the Hawks have is playing really well at home (as noted above) and generally playing better of late (save their loss to Fordham…whose actually playing well though…). The Bonnies have not had much success winning at Hawk Hill so the home floor advantage will be a major factor on Saturday night. The Bonnies are reeling and the Hawks have a chance to climb within a game of SBU with a win. The REAL strength lies in DeAndre Bembry whose already making me lose sleep.
Their glaring weaknesses: Again nothing is major weakness unless you want to cite the fact that the Hawks are just 309th nationally in scoring per game (61.6). SJU is basically in the middle of the table in just about every stat category at this point of the season. They struggle to shoot it (298th in FG%) so offense is more of a concern to them than defense where they rank 123rd in points against per game (64.3). If the Bonnies can have a big night shooting the ball SJU will find it hard to keep up unless Bembry goes nuts…which he may. SJU did light it up from 3PT range in the first meeting and it’s hard to see the Bonnies winning should SJU do the same thing this weekend.
Since we Last Met: The Hawks are 4-5 since the meeting on the 18th. Best wins have come against UMass and Rhode Island and the worst losses have come at St. Louis and at Fordham.
Their best player(s): Bembry. Not only SJU’s best player but maybe the best player in the whole league. If the Hawks were a solid team the wing would be getting serious consideration for major awards…but he’s not. Bembry can score from anywhere this season, he’s a great defender, a freak athlete and the leader of the Hawks. The only way to slow him down may be to foul him and put him on the line where he’s a poor shooter. Bembry lit up the Bonnies in the first meeting and they’ll have to do a better job on him this time around. Limiting his scoring output would put pressure on guys like Miles, Brown, Wilson and Demery that they don’t want. If Bembry goes for say 24+ it’s hard seeing the Bonnies winning unless everyone else is shut down.
Reason to be Pessimistic: The Bonnies have played back to back stinkers and have lost three in a row. Jay Adams’ finger is still broken and the game is on the road in a venue where the Hawks have beat a lot of teams lately.
Reason to be Optimistic: Because I just wrote an article urging the fanbase to finish strong and stay with the team to the bitter end. Because you never know and ultimately, while SJU is solid at home, they aren’t any better than us on a neutral floor….though they do have the best player on the floor by a mile. I’ll be optimistic because I’m planning on going and I’d really like a win to put me in a good mood before I hit the bars in Manayunk after.
More Notes from GoBonnies.com…..
The Starting Five Notes:
1. St. Bonaventure visits Saint Joseph’s as the teams complete their season series. Both teams come off losses, the Bonnies at home Wednesday to Richmond and the Hawks at Dayton on Thursday. St. Bonaventure won the first meeting with the Hawks, 70-61 on Jan. 18 at the Reilly Center. The game will pit two of the A-10’s top scorers, St. Bonaventure’s Marcus Posley and Saint Joseph’s DeAndre’ Bembry.
2. St. Bonaventure’s anchor in the middle, 7-foot senior center Youssou Ndoye, is second in the A-10 in both rebounding (10.5) and blocked shots (2.7/game). Six of his nine double-doubles this season have been against Atlantic 10 opponents, including 12 points and 10 rebounds against Richmond on Wednesday.
3. Junior forward Dion Wright has scored in double figures eight of the last nine games. Over that span, he went 57-99 (58%) from the field and averaged 14.5 points and 6.0 rebounds. In the win over VCU, Wright played one of the best all-around games of his career with 19 points and eight rebounds. Wright ranks 13th in the A-10 in scoring and 11th in rebounding, and he has a .550 field goal percentage in conference games.
4. Marcus Posley is the sixth-leading scorer in the Atlantic 10 at 16.4 points per game. He hopes to shake off a cold spell where he went 2-25 from three-point range the last three games.
5. Junior Iakeem Alston is expected to make his third start in place of freshman Jay Adams, who is out indefinitely due to a fracture/dislocation of the ring finger on his right hand. Alston scored a career high 11 points with three assists in 30 minutes of action last Saturday at Dayton, then scored nine points against Richmond.
St. Bonaventure vs. St. Joseph’s: The First Meeting This Year: Jan. 18, 2015 at Reilly Center — St. Bonaventure 70, Saint Joseph’s 61
Marcus Posley scored 15 of his 23 points in the second half to lead St. Bonaventure to the win. The Bonnies trailed 29-28 at halftime but took their first lead of the game on a steal and dunk by senior center Youssou Ndoye that made it 37-35 with 15:21 remaining. The lead grew to 48-39 before the Hawks rallied to pull within 48-46. The game remained close the rest of the way, and a three-pointer by Isaiah Miles closed the Bonnies’ lead to 55-54 with 5:35 left. St. Bonaventure answered, though, with a jumper by reserve Denzel Gregg followed by a Posley three-pointer to push the lead back to six points at 60-54 with 2:41 to play. The Bonnies went 8-8 at the free throw line down over the final 2:13 to secure the win. Ndoye finished with 15 points, six rebounds, five assists and three blocks. Dion Wright scored 14 points and Andell Cumberbatch added nine for the Bonnies. St. Bonaventure had 18 assists on its 25 field goals and committed only seven turnovers.
This will be the 69th meeting in a series that dates to 1958. The Hawks hold a 49-19 series lead. The teams split the last 10 meetings. The Bonnies are 3-23 all-time at Hawk Hill.
Saint Joseph’s Notes:
• Sophomore DeAndre’ Bembry is the do-it-all leader for the Hawks. He leads the Atlantic 10 in scoring at 18 points per game, and also averages 7.3 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 2.1 steals per game, all team highs. Bembry has 46 three-pointers and shoots 35 percent from long range.
• Senior Chris Wilson is second on the Hawks in assists with 72 and averages 7.0 points per game.
• Junior forward Isaiah Miles is the Hawks’ second-leading scorer (10.9) and rebounder (5.0). He also is a capable three-point shooter at 34 percent for the season.
• Junior guard Aaron Brown averages 10 points per game and has shot more free throws (77-105) than any other Hawk except Bembry.
• Saint Joseph’s is 9-3 at Hagan Arena with its only A-10 loss there to George Washington on Jan. 3.