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St. Joe's kicks it up in second half

Hawks earn win over Boston U

AND IN other non-Eagles news . . .

If you hold the other guys without a field goal for 9 1/2 minutes in the second half of the second half, there's a pretty good chance you're going to win, the Daily News has learned. Even if you went almost 7 1/2 minutes without a bucket in the first half.

That's what Saint Joseph's was able to do late yesterday afternoon at Hagan Arena against Boston University, in a game that was moved up an hour to help accommodate those who were also interested in what was going on later in Dallas.

The Hawks, who trailed by 11 points with just under 18 minutes left, had turned a tie into a seven-point deficit with 8:46 showing. They then scored the next 12, en route to a 73-67 win over a club that was picked to win the Patriot League. The Terriers got five layups from Maurice Watson Jr. in the closing 90 seconds, which was one fewer than they had in the first 9 minutes after intermission. In between, all seven of their points came at the foul line.

"The defensive performance in the second half is what I take away [from this]," said coach Phil Martelli, whose 7-4 team has won three straight for the first time this season.

Freshman forward DeAndre' Bembry was a noticeable part of that decisive stretch. But not before Martelli had to take him out for what he wasn't doing in the way of guarding his man. Bembry, who averages 11 points in 30 minutes, finished with 11 in 26. Nine came in less than 4 minutes, as the Hawks were going from down seven to up five.

"We can't win this game without him," said Martelli, who will host Binghamton tomorrow afternoon. "To be honest, he needed his [butt] kicked. I grabbed [assistant] Dave [Duda] and told him to talk to him. I hope it was G-rated.

"He's one of our five best players. To win, we have to have him out there. We're not built [to get it done any other way]. But he was asleep at the wheel. He's better than that. There's just more there. He has to know he's being counted on to be a good defender. He had to flip the switch back on."

The Hawks got 19 from Ronald Roberts and Chris Wilson, who tied his career high after scoring the team's first 10. Leading scorer Langston Galloway had 16 on only nine shots in 39 minutes, after having two at the break. He'd injured his ankle on the final play of Saturday's practice. And Halil Kanacevic, despite some back issues, had eight rebounds and seven assists even though he picked up his fourth foul at 5:20.

"I always start off trying to play defense," Bembry said. "I got in some early foul trouble [he finished with four]. I was out of control, was what it was. I had to calm down.

"I wanted to come in [in the second half] and make my presence known, do all the little things. [Duda] just talked to me. He wanted me to be aggressive, and know when to be aggressive. That definitely helped a lot. It made me feel more comfortable."

BU got 21 from Watson, a 5-10 sophomore who scored over 2,000 points at Boys' Latin and is one of four Philly players on the squad. He also had seven assists. Only one teammate, Dom Morris (Friends Central), reached double digits, with 11. The other seven who got in all scored.

The Hawks made eight of 10 free throws in the last 1:03. BU had a three-point attempt to get within three with 8 seconds left but John Papale, who'd already made three of six, couldn't convert.

St. Joe's shot 48 percent in the final 20 minutes, 45 overall and held BU to 37.9 in the second half, 41.9 for the full 40. It makes a difference.

"I was frustrated with myself," Bembry said. "I always heard I played a little older than [my age]. I'm just playing my game. I always have confidence in myself."

And knowing that Martelli does only gives him "more energy to go."

It's not as if these Hawks have a bunch of other options.

"I told them we earned this," Martelli said. "Now we have to build on it."

One spurt at a time.