ORLANDO, FLA. - Ronald Roberts, Jr., had 21 points and 10 rebounds to lead Saint Joseph’s to a 72-67 win over Washington State (3-4) in the fifth-place game of the 2013 Old Spice Classic at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports. DeAndre’ Bembry and Langston Galloway each added 13 points as the Hawks won their second straight game at the tournament.
Roberts dominated inside, shooting 8-for-12 from the field, with five dunks on the day, and blocking two shots en route to his second double-double of the year. Bembry sparked the Hawks in the second half with 11 points, including a pair of three-point plays. Sophomore Isaiah Miles tied his career-high with eight points.
Trailing 56-55 with eight minutes to play, Saint Joseph’s (4-2) outscored the Cougars, 15-4, to take a 70-65 lead with just over a minute to play. DaVonte Lacy scored on a layup to pull WSU within 70-67. The Hawks missed two shots on their next possession but forced a Washington State turnover. Galloway and Roberts each converted a free throw in the final 30 seconds and Bembry blocked a shot with six seconds left to preserve the win.
“That’s six games in a row that we’ve come out and lost that first segment in the second half. Came back, got the lead, got hit again, and then stayed with it,”We fell behind,” said SJU coach Phil Martelli. “They just spoke to each other about the team effort – like a play from Evan Maschmeyer getting a loose ball on the floor, and Daryus (Quarles) and Isaiah (Miles) giving us something. I can’t say enough about our seniors. They established themselves against Siena going out to a 9-0 lead and established themselves again today. They’re special people and deserve good things to happen to them. “
In the opening half, Saint Joseph’s took its first lead of the game, 19-18, on a three-pointer by Galloway at 10:25. Galloway hit his second of the game to start a 10-3 run, and sophomore Isaiah Miles chipped in with five points, as the Hawks increased their lead to 29-21. SJU maintained through the remainder of the half, taking a 34-28 lead at halftime.
Washington State started the second half with an 11-4 run to take a 39-38 lead. The Hawks fought back and went on an 11-6 spurt, paced by two three-point plays from Bembry and a three-pointer by Galloway to take a 49-44 lead with over 12 minutes to play.
WSU appeared to have the momentum when it opened up a 61-55 lead on a three-pointer by Lacy with 5:48, but Roberts countered with a three-point play to pull SJU to within 61-58. WSU led 63-60 after another Cougar basket and a jumper from Galloway, but Halil Kanacevic found Roberts for a dunk at 3:22 and the senior converted the free throw to give the Hawks the 66-65 lead. The seniors combined again for another Roberts’ dunk, giving Saint Joseph’s the 68-65 edge.
“I’m proud of these guys. They were out at Disney last night and they’ve grasped every opportunity we’ve given them. We went to Italy and they grasped it,” said Martelli. “I can’t say enough about these guys as people and that’s why I want so much for them to taste success like they are in the lockerroom right now.”
SJU returns to Philadelphia to face a pair of city rivals this week, visiting Temple on Wednesday and hosting Villanova on Saturday, December 7.