By Paul Gotham
Last-minute play calls in the Super Bowl aside, the recent run by Saint Joseph’s DeAndre Bembry may be one of the tougher items in recent sports to try and wrap one’s brain around.
Despite leading Saint Joseph’s in nearly every statistical category and receiving the attention from opposing defenses that goes with that, Bembry’s numbers continue to grow.
Averaging a shade under 16 points two weeks, the sophomore guard has turned in five 20-point performances since then. If that isn’t enough, it’s how he’s doing. The redshirt sophomore is hitting better than 52 percent (43 of 82) of his shots from the floor.
“The season he’s turning in is really going to end up in the annals here, and not just at Saint Joseph’s, but in Philadelphia basketball,” Saint Joseph’s head coach Phil Martelli said after the Hawks defeated Davidson, 75-70 on Saturday.
Bembry scored 14 of his team-high 21 in the second half as the Hawks erased a 13-point deficit at the break. The 6-6 guard/forward also corralled a career and game-high 17 rebounds.
“He’s a basketball player,” Davidson head coach Bob McKillop said. “He’ll beat you every way possible. He’s not a guy who’s just a scorer. He’s not a guy who’s just a shooter.”
Bembry handed out seven assists while committing one turnover and swiped a steal in 39 minutes as Saint Joseph’s snapped a two-game skid.
“He’ll bring the ball up,” McKillop continued. “He’ll take the ball screen. He’ll come off a ball screen and pass it. He’ll go the glass. He’ll post up. He’ll knock down a three. He’ll take you off the dribble. He’ll post you up and get to the foul line.”
Bembry leads Saint Joseph’s and the Atlantic 10 in points (17.6). He paces the Hawks in rebounds (6.5), assists (2.9) and steals (2.1).
“People say he’s a horse and we’re riding him,” Martelli commented. “He’s a pack of horses, or whatever they call it – a herd. He’s the whole herd.”
Bembry has dished 18 dimes over the five-game stretch with just six turnovers. Meanwhile he has accounted for 13 steals and 40 rebounds.
“That’s the player that he is,” Martelli added. “I don’t get in there and say ‘DeAndre you gotta get 20. You have to get 10 rebounds. You gotta lead.’ I don’t say that to him. I just want him to be a better player each time out.”
Bembry ranks ninth in the A-10 in rebounding overall (7.1) and seventh in conference games (7.9).
The Hawks (9-11/3-5) travel to Saint Louis to take on the Billikens (9-12/1-7) on Tuesday night. The game will be televised on CBS Sports. A 7:30 pm tipoff is scheduled.