POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. – Junior Isaiah Miles scored a career-high 23 points and sophomore DeAndre’ Bembry added 16 points and nine rebounds as the Saint Joseph’s men’s basketball team cruised to a 75-58 win over Marist at McCann Arena on Saturday night.
Miles scored 17 of his game-high total in the first half, hitting seven of his nine attempts from the field, including 3-of-5 from three-point range. Junior Aaron Brown also added 10 points off the bench on 4-of-6 from the field.
Saint Joseph’s (6-4) never trailed, taking the lead on a three-pointer by senior Chris Wilson on the opening possession. The Red Foxes answered with a bucket by Eric Truog at the 19:03 mark to cut the SJU lead to 3-2, but it would never get closer over the final 39 minutes.
The Hawks ran out to a 13-4 lead on a jumper by Miles at the 15:02 mark of the first half. After a three-pointer from Chavaughn Lewis got the Red Foxes within six, Miles keyed a 13-0 Saint Joseph’s run with a pair of threes, and a layup by Brown pushed the margin to 26-7 with 9:37 remaining.
After a Connor McClenaghan dunk ended the run and brought Marist (1-10) within 17, the Hawks scored nine consecutive points, seven of them from Miles, to take a commanding 35-9 lead with 5:26 on the clock.
The Red Foxes ripped off eight straight points of their own and finished the half on a 13-2 run, but SJU entered halftime with a 37-22 lead on a season-best 55.6% shooting in the frame.
“I was happy with the way we practiced this past week,” said head coach Phil Martelli. “Our play at the start of the game was crisp and I think we were well rested. Isaiah is a guy that we count on, and he got going here.”
The Hawks actually shot better from the field in the second half, hitting 56.5% from the field, to salt away the win, but it was Marist that came out of the locker room with the advantage, cutting the SJU lead to single digits at 45-36 on a layup by Lewis with 14:44 to play.
Saint Joseph’s answered, however, as Brown, Wilson, and Bembry scored the next nine points of the game to push the margin back to 18 at 54-36 with 11:54 remaining.
The lead fluctuated between 15 and 19 points over the final eight and a half minutes of the game before settling at 17, as freshman Kyle Thompson hit one-of-two from the line with 20 seconds to play for the game’s final points.
Miles reached double figures for the fourth time this season, while Bembry pitched in with his seventh consecutive double-digit output. He also handed out seven assists, a season high.
Lewis led the Red Foxes with 15 points, while Phillip Lawrence added 14 points and a team-high five rebounds.
“We’re going into Christmas at 6-4,” said Martelli after the game. “We think that maybe we could’ve been 8-2, but we all left plays out there in those two games. But 6-4 is where we are and now the most important thing is for them to be with their families.”
After a brief respite for the Christmas holiday, the Hawks will head to Denver for their final game of 2014. Tip-off between the Hawks and Pioneers is set for 9:00 p.m. Eastern on Monday, December 29.