George Washington holds off St. Joe's

Coach Phil Martelli's Hawks improved to 20-7, and 10-3in the Atlantic Ten.
Coach Phil Martelli's Hawks improved to 20-7, and 10-3in the Atlantic Ten. (DAVID MAIALETTI / Staff Photographer)
Posted: March 07, 2014

WASHINGTON - St. Joseph's will have to wait another day to clinch a bye into the Atlantic Ten quarterfinals. And while the Hawks are still on course to receive a bid to the NCAA tournament, they could have solidified their position if they had held on to a nine-point second-half lead Wednesday night.

Instead, George Washington stormed back from that deficit with 11 minutes remaining to defeat the Hawks, 76-71, at the Charles E. Smith Center.

St. Joseph's saw its six-game winning streak snapped and is now 21-8 and 11-4 in the A-10. The Hawks can clinch a bye with a win Sunday in their regular-season finale against La Salle.

GW (22-7, 10-5) remains very much in the running for a spot in the NCAAs. Trailing by 58-57, the Colonials went on a 10-2 run to take command.

Freshman forward DeAndre' Bembry led the Hawks with 22 points and eight assists. Guard Maurice Creek had 20 for the Colonials.

St. Joseph's jumped to an eight-point lead early in the second half, saw it cut to three, and later increased it to 54-45 when Ronald Roberts Jr. scored on dunk off a great feed from Bembry with 11 minutes remaining. Roberts scored the ensuing free throw to complete a three-point play.

Still, the Colonials wouldn't allow St Joseph's to pull away and took their first lead of the second half, 57-56, on a reverse layup by Kevin Larsen with 7:30 left.

"We committed some late turnovers and calls definitely didn't go our way, but we can't blame it on that," Bembry said. "We just didn't bring our game in the second half at the end."

As for the calls, coach Phil Martelli was less than happy with the officiating. The Colonials shot three free throws in the first half and 24 in the second.

"We are the third-fewest fouling team in America and they shot 24 fouls shots in the second half," Martelli said. "He will want his name in the paper. His name is Jamie Luckie: He was the referee.

"Shame on us, we fouled. We gave up 24 foul shots in the second half and I am not sure why we would change in our 29th game, but we did."

Before the game, Joe Lunardi of ESPN, who is also a color analyst on St. Joseph's radio broadcasts, said that if the Hawks won they would be a "near lock" to earn a bid to the NCAA tournament. The Hawks last went to the tournament in 2008.

Notes. Martelli found out at the afternoon shootaround that his daughter Elizabeth had given birth to a girl, Madalyn Marie Jeffries. It is his fifth grandchild. . . . The Hawks were outrebounded, 39-32. . . . Former Villanova forward Isaiah Armwood had 15 points and 11 rebounds for the Colonials. . . . Roberts added 16 points for the Hawks, shooting 7 for 8 from the field.


mnarducci@phillynews.com

@sjnard

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