St. Joe’s forward DeAndre Bembry continued to show his dominance Tuesday night against Princeton (4-2), leading the Hawks (6-2) to a 62-50 victory while displaying the all-around ability that has made him one of the most talked about players in the country this season.
Bembry scored 27 points along with 10 rebounds, three assists and four steals to give the Hawks their best start since the great Jameer Nelson and Delonte West suited up for the team in the incredible 2003-04 season.
“I had to do it all last year. It’s not really nothing new to me or nothing I’m uncomfortable with,” Bembry said after the game. “I’m very comfortable with taking as many shots as I need to. … At the end of the game, I feel like I needed the ball in my hands.”
Bembry had some clutch baskets down the stretch to put the game out of reach. The Tigers were within five of the Hawks at 36-31 with just under 10 minutes to go. Bembry would go on to close out the game with 12 of the Hawks final 26 points.
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“Win No. 6 does not just begat win No. 7 unless we play much better,” said Hawks coach Phil Martelli. “[Bembry] was just the best player. Everyone [else] has to look at the man in the mirror.”
Despite shouldering most of the load Tuesday, Bembry hasn’t been relied upon as heavily offensively this season compared to last season. The play of Isaiah Miles (15.9 ppg), Aaron Brown (10.5 ppg) and James Demery (10.3 ppg) has really balanced out the Hawks’ offense for most of the early season.
“We didn’t play the way we normally play [this season], where everyone’s scoring and everyone’s rebounding,” Bembry said. “I had to get myself going. I really wanted it. I’m usually not the person who’s yelling for the ball. But I needed to go get it.”
Up next for the Hawks is their rival Temple Owls (3-4) at the Liacouras Center on Sunday. The game will air at 4 p.m. on the CBS Sports Network.