SPOKANE, Wash. - The Saint Joseph's men's basketball team saw its 2015-16 championship season draw to a close on Sunday night as the eighth-seeded Hawks (28-8) fell to top-seeded Oregon, 69-64, in the second round of the NCAA Tournament at Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena.
Trailing by five at halftime, the Hawks fell behind by 10, 45-35, before a 23-6 run gave Saint Joseph's a 58-51 lead with 5:32 remaining.
The Ducks answered with a 13-4 run to take the lead for good on a Dillon Brooks three-pointer with 1:22 to go and then increased it to 66-62 on a pair of free throws by Elgin Cook at :35. Bembry connected with a layup at :26 to pull the Hawks within 66-64 and after one free throw by Casey Benson at :23, the Hawks committed a turnover that sealed the win for Oregon (30-6).
Bembry led the Hawks 16 points and 12 rebounds for his ninth double-double of the year, while freshman Lamarr Kimble scored 11, with nine in the second half to aid the comeback. Shavar Newkirk scored 10 as did senior Aaron Brown in his final game. Leading scorer Isaiah Miles, who was saddled with early foul trouble, scored eight points and grabbed eight rebounds.
SJU trailed just 32-27 at the half, despite played most of the first half without Miles, who was whistled for his second foul less than five minutes in.
Saint Joseph's came out strong in the second half and after cutting the deficit to 32-30, Oregon went on a 13-5 run, paced by nine points from Dilon Brooks. But the Hawks started a 10-0 run and tied the game at 45-45 on a jumper by Miles. The Hawks took their first lead of the game, 50-49, at 8:11 on a three-pointer by Kimble.
It became a 17-point swing for the Hawks as they took a 58-51 lead with 5:32 to play. But Oregon answered with a 10-2 run, taking a 61-60 lead with 1:57 to play. SJU would go ahead just one more time, 62-61, on a pair f free throws from Bembry, but a three-pointer from Brooks pushed the Ducks ahead for good, 64-62.
Brown kept the Hawks in the game, scoring nine of their first 13 points, including a three-pointer that pulled them within 15-13.
Oregon took its biggest lead of the half, 30-20, but Newkirk had five straight points to get the Hawks within 30-25 with 51.3 seconds to go in the half. After a dunk by Cook pushed Oregon to 32-25, Kimble hit a pair of free throws to get SJU within 32-27 at the half.
Brooks led Oregon with 25 points, while Cook added 18 and Tyler Dorsey scored 14.
Saint Joseph's finishes the season at 28-8, the second-most wins in a season in program history. The Hawks won their fourth Atlantic 10 Tournament championship and matched the program record for games played in a season.
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