St. Joseph's continued its push toward an NCAA tournament bid on Saturday, using a balanced offense that saw all five starters score in double figures and a sensational second half effort by freshman DeAndre' Bembry in a 75-64 win over La Salle.
With Bembry scoring all 16 of his points in the second half, St. Joe's claimed the morning Atlantic Ten matchup at Tom Gola Arena.
St. Joseph's is now 17-7 overall and 7-3 in the A-10. La Salle (12-12, 4-6) will now likely need to win the A-10 tournament to return to the NCAA tourney.
"My shot just wasn't falling in the first half," said the 6-foot-6 Bembry, who was 0 for 5 in the first 20 minutes and 5 for 7 in the second half. "The second half I tried to come out and be just as aggressive, and my shots went down."
Langston Galloway led the Hawks with 18 points, while Ronald Roberts Jr. had 15, and Halil Kanacevic and Chris Wilson both added 10.
"This game means a lot, and we are moving in the right direction, and we will keep trying to build on this," Galloway said.
Leading by 37-30, the Hawks went on a 9-0 run that ended with Galloway's driving layup that extended the lead to 46-30 with 15 minutes, 40 seconds left.
La Salle closed to within 68-62 when Taylor Dunn hit a three-pointer with 2:08 remaining, but the Hawks made seven of their final eight free throws to hold off the Explorers.
In addition to his offense, Bembry was a defensive force on La Salle point guard Tyreek Duren. After scoring La Salle's first eight points, Duren finished with 15.
"I could get space, but a guy with that type of length [is tough]," Duren said of Bembry
La Salle junior forward Jerrell Wright, who played just eight first-half minutes due to foul trouble, scored all 16 of his points in the second half and now has 1,008 for his career. He also had 15 rebounds.
"I don't really care about the points," Wright said. "If we had won I probably would have thought about it more."
St. Joseph's took a 36-26 halftime lead, largely on the play of three senior leaders. Roberts scored 12 points, mainly inside, and Galloway had 10. Kanacevic had nine points, five rebounds, and four first-half assists.
Bembry then took over in the final 20 minutes.