PHILADELPHIA - Aaron Brown hit a driving layup with 1:30 to play to break a 47-47 tie, and Isaiah Miles and Shavar Newkirk hit late free throws to help Saint Joseph's defeat Drexel, 52-49, at the Dakalaskis Center.
DeAndre' Bembry had 13 points and eight rebounds for the Hawks (1-1), while freshman James Demery scored 12 for the first double-figure game of his career and Brown scored 11 points off the bench.
The Hawks trailed at halftime, 25-24, and by as much as 36-29 with over 12 minutes to play in the second half. But SJU used its fullcourt press to up the tempo and force a few Drexel turnovers and limit the Dragons without a point for four minutes. A jumper by Newkirk started a 12-0 run by the Hawks, which included four points from Demery, to give SJU a 41-36 lead with 8:48 remaining.
With SJU leading 45-40 after a layup by Brown, Drexel (0-2) went on a 7-2 spurt to tie the game at 47-47 with 3:01 to play. Newkirk rebounded a Drexel miss and Brown drove to put the Hawks up for good, 49-47, at 1:30. Miles made 1-of-2 free throws but Drexel's Damion Lee hit a pair from the line to pull the home team within, 50-49, with 16 seconds to play. Newkirk connected on both free throws at :11 and Drexel missed its last attempt as time expired.
Miles added eight rebounds for the Hawks, which outrebounded the Dragons, 38-35. Newkirk added seven point, while going a team-best 5-for-6 from the foul line.
Lee was the only Dragon in double figures with 23 points.
The Hawks now head on a cross-country trip to begin play in the NIT Season Tip-Off against #13/11 Gonzaga on Wednesday evening in Spokane, Washington. The game will be televised on ESPNU at 11 p.m. Eastern time.