DeAndre Bembry had 21 points, 17 rebounds and seven assists and Saint Joseph’s fought back from a 13-point halftime deficit to defeat Davidson, 75-70, in an Atlantic 10 Conference game at Hagan Arena in the first meeting of the schools as A-10 members.
It marked the fifth straight game of 20 plus-points for Bembry, while his rebounding total was a new career-high and the second double-double of his career.
Aaron Brown made the first start of his career, and responded with a career-high 20 points, while Isaiah Miles added 13 points for the Hawks (9-11; 3-5 A-10). Freshman James Demery came off the bench for the first time this year and had 10 points.
Peyton Aldridge led Davidson (14-5; 5-3 A-10) with 24 points while Brian Sullivan scored 17 points and Tyler Kalinoski had 15 points and 10 rebounds. Davidson shot 42.4 percent from three-point range in the game, going 14-for-33 from behind the arc.
With just over four minutes to play, Bembry put the Hawks up 61-57 with a three-pointer and then Miles banked in a three-pointer and was fouled with 2:59 to play, giving SJU its biggest lead of the game, 65-57. Miles came back with another three to give SJU a double-digit lead, 68-57.
Davidson came back with eight straight, including a three by Aldridge, cut the SJU lead to 68-65. The Hawks built a 70-65 cushion with free throws by Bembry and Demery with 42 seconds remaining.
The Wildcats answered again with a layup from Kalinoski at 36.2 seconds to close to 70-67. Bembry connected on a pair from the line to increase the Hawks’ lead to 72-67 but Sullivan converted another three-pointer to bring Davidson within, 72-70. Brown hit two free throws to give SJU a 74-70 lead with 20 seconds left and after Aldridge’s three-point attempt was off the mark, Bembry grabbed the rebound with 11 seconds left. Demery picked up the rebound off a missed three by Kalinoski at :02 and made a free throw to provide the final margin.
"People say he's (Bembry) a horse and we're riding him. He's a pack of horses, or whatever they call them - a herd. He's the whole herd," said Hawk coach Phil Martelli.
Trailing 41-28 at halftime, Saint Joseph’s scored the first 11 points of the second half to cut the deficit to 41-39. That was the first part of a 20-3 run for Saint Joseph’s, which allowed them to take a 48-44 lead at 12:25, punctuated by a dunk from Demery.
Davidson eventually forged a 54-54 tie, and the teams traded leads, but a layup by Demery put SJU up 58-57, and the Hawks would maintain the lead the rest of the way.
"In the second half, we played a little bit older," said Martelli. "James Demery deserves notice. He's a young kid . . . and he hasn't played very well. He didn't start for the first time, and he was energized and engaged in the game. He can be a special player."
Tied at 22-22, Davidson hit four straight three-pointers, with three straight by Aldridge, to go up 34-22, with under four minutes left in the half. Aaron broke the Hawks’ scoreless streak with a three-pointer at 3:01, but Davidson would end the half on a 7-3 run, closing it out with a three by Aldridge at the buzzer to give the Wildcats a 41-28 halftime lead.
SJU led briefly in the first half, 20-17, after a three-pointer by Miles and a free throw from Wilson.
"The opportunity to compete against one of the best coaches in the country in Bob McKillop and a team that plays a style unlike any in the country," said Martelli. "College basketball is in trouble this year, and now you have a team coming in here that averages 81 points per game because they play offense. It was enjoyable to get ready for this game."
Saint Joseph’s goes on the road on Tuesday to face Saint Louis. The game will be televised nationally on CBSSN at 7:30 p.m. Eastern time.