SPOKANE, WASH. - The Saint Joseph's (1-1) men's basketball team opens play in the NIT Season Tip-Off on Wednesday night when it travels to #13/11 Gonzaga (2-0). Game time from the soldout McCarthey Center is 11 p.m. Eastern (8 p.m. local) with the national telecast on ESPNU.
The game is also available on WatchESPN for viewing on computer, smart phones and other devices. WATCH
The game will be broadcast on Sports Radio 610 AM (WIP) with Matt Martucci and Joe Lunardi calling the action, with free audio streaming available on SJUHawks.com. Download the SJUHawks app and upgrade to the premium app to listen to the game on your mobile device.
• Saint Joseph’s notched its first win of the season, defeating local rival Drexel, 52-49, on Monday night. DeAndre’ Bembry scored 13 points and freshman James Demery had 12. Junior Aaron Brown scored 11 points off the bench for the Hawks, who avoided their first 0-2 start since 2010-11.
• Saint Joseph’s is in the midst of a stretch of six games in 13 days, including this cross-country trip to #13 Gonzaga.
• Today’s matchup between Saint Joseph’s and Gonzaga is part of the nationwide Jesuit Basketball Spotlight project, using Jesuit basketball to raise awareness of Jesuit education. Both are Jesuit schools.
• The Hawks return two starters - DeAndre’ Bembry and Chris Wilson - from last year’s Atlantic 10 Champion team. Bembry, a Preseason A-10 All-Conference First Team selection, is the team’s leading returning scorer after averaging 12.1 points last season.
• Phil Martelli is in his 20th season as the head coach of the Hawks. He is the school’s all-time leader in victories with 363.
A CLASSIC RIVALRY: This will be the first meeting between Jesuit rivals Saint Joseph’s and Gonzaga since the 2007-08 season, a series which has produced some classic games. Gonzaga leads the series, 3-2, with the last meeting coming on November 29, 2007 in Philadelphia where the Zags pulled out a 70-65 overtime win. Here’s a closer look at the games:
• Dec. 31, 2001 - Saint Joseph’s fell short in its upset bid against #22 Gonzaga, 83-80, at Alumni Memorial Fieldhouse, snapping SJU’s 14-game home winning streak. Bill Phillips had 26 points to lead the Hawks. The game featured 19 lead changes and 11 ties.
• Dec. 31, 2002 - Junior Jameer Nelson showed why he was considered one of the top point guards in the nation as he scored a career-high 34 points to lead the Hawks to a 79-78 overtime win over Gonzaga in Spokane to snap GU’s 29-game home winning streak.
• Nov. 14, 2003 - Saint Joseph’s starts off its perfect 27-0 regular season with a 73-66 win over #10 Gonzaga in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic in front of more than 6,000 SJU fans at Madison Square Garden. Jameer Nelson gets his Player of the Year candidacy off to a flying start with 20 points, eight rebounds and 10 assists.
• Dec. 31, 2005 - On New Year’s Eve in Spokane, SJU hit a McCarthey Athletic Center record 15 three-pointers, but fell short in its upset bid as #8 Gonzaga scored the 102-94 win. The Hawks had pulled within 93-90 on a three by Chet Stachitas at :48, but the Bulldogs shot 11-for-12 from the line in the final minute to secure the win.
• Nov. 29, 2007 - The teams played an overtime thriller before a standing-room only crowd at Alumni Memorial Fieldhouse and #19 Gonzaga pulled out the win, 70-65. The Hawks trailed by as many as 17 points early on, but the defense held Gonzaga without a field goal for seven minutes to get back into the game. Pat Calathes went 13-for-13 from the foul line and had a game-high 24 points for SJU.
NO REST FOR THE WEARY: After winning at Drexel on Monday night, the Hawks boarded a charter flight at 10 a.m. on Tuesday for the 2,100-mile trip to Spokane. The team made a quick stop in Fargo, North Dakota, to refuel and arrived in Spokane at 2 p.m. Pacific time.
BEMBRY’S BACK: After an uncharacteristic effort vs. FDU, DeAndre’ Bembry was back leading the team to the win at Drexel, scoring 13 points and grabbing eight rebounds. The sophomore co-captain played 39 minutes and contributed during a 12-0 Hawk run in the second half.
WHAT CAN BROWN DO FOR YOU: Junior Aaron Brown gave the Hawks a big boost off the bench at Drexel, scoring 11 points for his first double-figure game in a Hawk uniform. He hit a driving layup with 1:30 to play to break a 47-47 tie and put SJU up for good. Brown is in his first year playing at Saint Joseph’s after transferring from West Virginia. He sat out the 2013-14 season and has two years of eligibility with the Hawks.
JAMES’ GAME: Highly-touted freshman James Demery recorded the first double-figure game of his career as he posted 12 points on 4-for-9 shooting at Drexel. The freshman got off to a slow start in his SJU debut as he had only three points in 10 minutes in the FDU loss.
NERVES OF STEEL: Freshman Shavar Newkirk also gave SJU a boost off the bench at Drexel. He went 5-for-6 from the foul line and hit a pair with :11 to play as SJU was clinging to a 51-49 lead. He had seven points, three rebounds and two assists in 25 minutes of action.
TOOTH AND NAIL: Jai Williams suffered a bad break in his first two minutes of collegiate action. He caught an elbow as a Drexel player was dunking and it knocked out two teeth. Williams was scheduled to have oral surgery on Tuesday morning, with possibly two root canals, and did not make the trip to Spokane. He is out indefinitely. The redshirt freshman sat out the 2013-14 to further develop his game.
RACKING UP THE MILES: The play of junior Isaiah Miles was one of the bright spots in the loss to FDU. The junior made the first start of his career and posted his first-ever double-double with 12 points and a career-high 14 rebounds. Miles also took a career-high 14 field goal attempts in 33 minutes of action.
HAWKS VS. THE TOP 25: Saint Joseph’s is 5-7 versus ranked teams in the past three years. Last year the Hawks defeated #21 UMass in February and #23 VCU in the Atlantic 10 Championship game. SJU’s last meeting with a ranked team was in the 2014 NCAA Second Round where the Hawks extended #18 Connecticut to overtime before falling to the eventual national champions, 89-81.
TOURNAMENT TIME: SJU is participating in the redesigned NIT Season Tip-Off. After tonight’s opening game at Gonzaga, the Hawks will host LIU Brooklyn on November 25. SJU will conclude play in the tournament on Thanksgiving night when it faces Western Kentucky at Madison Square Garden. It marks the second year in a row that the Hawks will have a game on Thanksgiving - last season, the team took on LSU in the Old Spice Classic in Orlando.
LOOKING AHEAD: SJU returns home to host Vermont on Nov. 22 and then hosts LIU Brooklyn in the NIT on Nov. 25. The Hawks will conclude play in the NIT on Thanksgiving when they take on Western Kentucky at Madison Square Garden.