St. Joe's Bembry shows leadership in road win over UMass


St. Joe's Bembry shows leadership in road win over UMass


Led by junior DeAndre' Bembry, St. Joe's took down UMass, 74-57, at Mullins Center on Wednesday.

It was a bounce-back win for the Hawks, who fell to Davidson last Saturday, their first road loss of the season. The win over the Minutemen pushes their road record to 10-1 on the season. It also gives them a share of first place in the Atlantic 10.

Senior forward Isaiah Miles, the team's leading scorer, paced the Hawks with 20 points and nine boards. Do-it-all forward Bembry had 18 points, nine rebounds and four assists.

Bembry always seems to be right in the thick of it for St. Joe's. Head coach Phil Martelli continued to heap praise on the junior swingman.

"The start of the second half, and I said that to him when I took them out at the end, I don't know what the numbers are going to show, but to me it's his leadership," Martelli said of Bembry. "He has something to say to every player on every play and they respond to that and, ironically, going through the airport on Saturday night coming back from Davidson, I said to him, 'That's the first game you didn't talk.'"

St. Joe's (23-5, 12-3) held just a 35-31 lead over UMass (12-15, 5-10) at the half before pulling away. UMass put together an 11-2 run, and Donte Clark's layup with 5:44 left cut the Minutemen's deficit to 59-51 with 5:42 left, but UMass couldn't get closer. Saint Joseph's reeled off 12 straight points, and Miles' three with 2:52 remaining made it 71-51.

Bembry has been a force in the A-10 and has been on NBA scouts' radar for the last two seasons. The biggest difference you see in him from his sophomore to junior seasons is his ability to lead. Martelli was very pleased with how he handled himself in a hostile environment on Wednesday.

Bembry came into the game with a minor injury, but played through it. He set the tone for his team defensively. Bembry grabbed three steals and made a key block. The swat, which Martelli described as "violent," stood out.

"He was a little banged up," Martelli said. "He didn't practice. He turned a bone-on-bone injury at Davidson. But as I've said to him, if you want to be considered the best player in the league, then you have to lead on the road and that's what he did. That (block) might be an example."

St. Joe's will return to Hagan Arena for a matchup against Saint Louis on Sunday. Tipoff is set for 1 p.m.

NCAA Tournament wrap: UNC edges out Kentucky on Maye game-winner

NCAA Tournament wrap: UNC edges out Kentucky on Maye game-winner

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Luke Maye hit a jumper with 0.3 seconds left, and top-seeded North Carolina held off Kentucky 75-73 to earn the Tar Heels' second straight trip to the Final Four and 20th all-time in Sunday's showdown of college basketball's elite in the South Regional.

The Tar Heels (31-7) will play Midwest champ Oregon on Saturday in Phoenix in the national semifinal.

North Carolina took control with a 12-0 run within the final 5 minutes. Kentucky's freshmen De'Aaron Fox and Malik Monk hit three quick 3s, the last two by Monk and his second with 7.2 seconds left tied it up at 73.

Theo Pinson brought the ball down, passed back to Maye. The sophomore from Huntersville, North Carolina, knocked it down for the win with his feet on the 3-point line.

The Wildcats had one last chance, but Derek Willis' inbound pass went out of bounds on the far end.

Kentucky (32-6) will miss out on the Final Four for the second straight year.

South Carolina beats Florida to reach first Final Four
NEW YORK -- It's only right that South Carolina's first trip to Final Four was earned through its defense.

A team known for a swarming zone used it effectively down the stretch to beat Florida 77-70 on Sunday and win the East Regional at Madison Square Garden.

Sindarius Thornwell scored 26 points for the seventh-seeded Gamecocks (26-10) against the fourth-seeded Gators (27-9) in the all-Southeastern Conference matchup.

South Carolina will face Gonzaga, the No. 1 seed from the West Regional, in the Final Four on Saturday at Glendale, Arizona.

"Gamecock Nation, we heard you loud and clear," coach Frank Martin roared as the team prepared to cut down the nets. "We'll see you in Phoenix."

The game was as close as expected until the final minute. There were 14 lead changes and 10 ties. The last lead change came on two free throws by Thornwell with 2:24 left that made it 65-63. Florida managed just three field goals over the final 3:55.

Thornwell, the regional MVP, followed the deciding free throws with a nice assist to Maik Kotsar for a 4-point lead. It seemed Thornwell, who scored eight straight points for the Gamecocks, was always where he needed to be including making a steal with 40 seconds left that turned into a 73-68 lead.

"I just made plays," Thornwell said. "Plays needed to be made down the stretch and I stepped up and made plays."

"Thornwell was just being Thornwell," Florida coach Mike White said of the SEC player of the year. "He's one of the best players in the country."

PJ Dozier added 17 points for the Gamecocks, Chris Silva had 13 and Kotsar 12.

It all totaled to a Final Four trip for Martin, he of the booming voice and terrifying faces.

Justin Leon had 18 points for the Gators who managed a 40-33 halftime lead on 7-for-12 shooting from 3-point range. But that was it. Florida was 0 for 14 from beyond the arc in the second half, a lot like the 0-for-17 effort the Gators had in their first meeting with South Carolina this season.

South Carolina, which forced Florida into 16 turnovers, finished 23 for 31 from the free throw line, including a 9-for-10 effort from Thornwell.

NCAA Tournament Wrap: Gonzaga reaches 1st Final Four; Oregon upsets Kansas

NCAA Tournament Wrap: Gonzaga reaches 1st Final Four; Oregon upsets Kansas

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Tyler Dorsey poured in 27 points, Dillon Brooks added 17 and plucky Oregon ended Kansas' romp through the NCAA Tournament with a 74-60 victory Saturday night that gave the Ducks their first Final Four trip in nearly 80 years.

Dylan Ennis added 12 points for the Ducks (33-5), who took the lead with 16 minutes left in the first half and never trailed again, giving coach Dana Altman his first trip to the national semifinals.

They'll face the winner of Sunday's game between North Carolina and Kentucky in Glendale, Arizona.

Player of the year front-runner Frank Mason III had 21 points in his final game for the Jayhawks (31-5), who had rolled to the Elite Eight by an average margin of 30 points. But their dream season ended with a thud just 40 minutes from campus on a night where very little went right (see full recap).

Gonzaga beats Xavier to reach 1st Final Four
SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Nigel Williams-Goss scored 23 points while orchestrating Gonzaga's efficient offense, and the Zags finally shook their overrated tag by routing Xavier 83-59 on Saturday to reach the Final Four for the first time.

Gonzaga (36-1) has been dogged by criticism through the years despite winning consistently, in part for playing in a weak conference but also for never making the Final Four.

On the cusp of history, the Zags took it head on with a superb all-around game to give coach Mark Few the one missing piece of his resume.

Gonzaga found the range from the perimeter after struggling the first three NCAA games, making 12 of 24 from 3-point range. The defense, a soft spot in the past, shut down the underdog and 11th-seeded Musketeers (24-14) to win the West Region.

The Zags will face the winner between South Carolina and Florida in next week's Final Four in Arizona (see full recap).