Senior Chris Wilson scored a career-high 23 points to lead Saint Joseph’s to a 66-55 win over Fordham in Atlantic 10 action at Hagan Arena. The win was the first conference victory of the year for the Hawks, and snapped a four-game losing streak.
Wilson shot 6-of-10 from the field and hit 5-of-9 three point attempts. He also made all six free throw attempts as the Hawks shot a season-best 86.4 percent (19-for-22) from the line.
DeAndre’ Bembry had 13 points and eight rebounds and Aaron Brown came off the bench to record 12 points and eight rebounds for Saint Joseph’s (7-8; 1-3 A-10).
Saint Joseph’s closed out the game with a 15-6 run after Fordham (5-10; 0-4 A-10) trailed 51-49 with 3:32 to play. Wilson had seven in the spurt, including a three-pointer that put SJU ahead, 58-49, with 1:26 remaining.
The Hawks led by as many as 13 early in the second half. Fordham, helped by a 52.4 percent shooting from the field in the second half, scored 10 straight points to cut it to 40-37 with 9:51 remaining. Saint Joseph’s answered back with a 7-2 run to build a 47-39 cushion, but Bryan Smith converted a three-pointer and Chris Sengfelder hit a jumper to cut Fordham’s deficit to 47-44 with over five minutes to play. A pair of free throws by Smith at 3:32 pulled the Rams as close as they would come, 51-49.
In the low-scoring first half, the Hawks held a 19-14 lead, but then both teams went scoreless for six minutes. Saint Joseph’s ended the drought with a three-pointer by Wilson that gave the Hawks their biggest lead of the half, 22-14, at 5:10. Fordham would end the half with a 7-3 run to pull within 25-21 at halftime.
Eric Paschall led Fordham with 16 points, while hitting 4-of-5 three-pointers. Smith had 14 points and Mandell Thomas scored 10 points.
Saint Joseph’s held a commanding 42-25 edge in rebounding, but committed 16 turnovers in the game, including 11 in the first half.
The foul shooting is a great sign for this team. Our guys stepped up confidently in the second half on their foul shots,” said Hawk coach Phil Martelli. "We had a lot of hurt feelings and a lot of guys walking around with their heads down. Twenty-six days is a long time to go between wins. I said during halftime that we have to stop feeling sorry for ourselves. The only ones who can fix this is us, and we played a half feeling sorry for ourselves and really only played in spurts. So we take the win and still going with an off day tomorrow and practice on Friday.”
"I thought Aaron Brown did a really good job on getting on both glasses. We've been on him about that. And I think there's even more there," said Martelli. "And Isaiah (Miles), when he has played assertively, it's not when the ball is going down, it's when he has rebounded the ball. So we played a large measure of that game small and then they matched us by going even smaller. So guys have to find ways to ways to do small plays, dirty plays. James (Demery) took a charge in the second half, and it was a bad call, but that's a small play. And that's a dirty play. And we need more of that moving forward."
The Hawks go back on the road to St. Bonaventure for a game on Sunday, January 18. The contest will be televised nationally by the NBC Sports Network at 2:30 p.m.