Rushed Reactions: #8 Saint Joseph’s 78, #9 Cincinnati 76

Posted by Kenny Ocker on March 18th, 2016

Kenny Ocker is an RTC columnist and correspondent. He is covering the Spokane pods of the South and West regionals this week.

Three Key Takeaways.

DeAndre Bembry was phenomenal on Friday night. (Photo: USAT)

DeAndre Bembry was phenomenal on Friday night. (Photo: USAT)

  1. DeAndre Bembry is phenomenal: The 6’6″ junior wing for Saint Joseph’s has an NBA future, and it’s obvious why. Scoring 20 first-half points against one of the country’s best defenses is no joke. And after being held to three points for most of the second half – and with his Hawks down 71-68 – he hit a floater, set up a three-pointer with a skip pass, grabbed a pair of defensive rebounds and led a 7-0 run to put the game back in Saint Joseph’s control. And the game-winning three-pointer from Isaiah Miles? That was from a Bembry setup, too. The SJU star finished with 23 points, six rebounds, five assists, three steals, two blocks and nearly a full 40 minutes played.
  2. Coreontae DeBerry had the half of his life, and so did Jacob Evans: Cincinnati’s backup senior center topped his career high with 14 points…in the first half. Then Evans, the Bearcats’ freshman wing, poured in 17 second-half points, which included a personal 8-0 stretch at one point. DeBerry finished with 18 points on 6-for-6 shooting and had a career-high-tying four blocks, while Evans had career highs with 26 points and nine rebounds.
  3. Sunday should be fun: Watching Oregon attempt to defend Bembry should be entertaining. His combination of length and savvy would test any team, and it seems like the Ducks could be particularly vulnerable to his game. The Hawks’ refusal to give up free throws will also take away easy scoring opportunities for the Ducks. But Oregon’s length – and shot-blocking ability – is not something that’s easy to prepare for in a situation with less than a 48-hour turnaround.

Star of the Game: DeAndre Bembry. Not only did he have a fantastic day on the stat sheet, but he came up big in the game’s biggest moments. One of the nation’s most under-appreciated stars.


  • “We knew this would be 40 minutes because that’s the way Cincinnati plays.” Saint Joseph’s coach Phil Martelli.
  • “In a small way, I wish it hadn’t ended like that. I wish it had ended with Isaiah getting a three and us getting a stop, but from what I could see, it was the right call.” Martelli, on the not-buzzer-beating dunk by Cincinnati forward Octavius Ellis’ hand.

Sights and Sounds:

So, So Close...

So, So Close…

  • DeAndre Bembry‘s majestic Afro.
  • Saint Joseph’s rent-a-band is also pretty fun, as far as rent-a-bands go.
  • The Hawk. Always flapping. Never dying. At least for another two days.
  • That ball, hanging in Octavius Ellis’ hands for just an infinitesimal moment longer than it could. The nervous energy, the suspense hanging in the air at the Spokane Arena. The minutes of waiting. The release when the referees waved off the dunk that had initially been allowed. Nearly indescribable.

What’s Next? Saint Joseph’s has Saint Joseph’s Day tomorrow, then #1 Oregon on Sunday afternoon. Cincinnati has another close loss in Spokane and its second straight brutal loss at the buzzer. The Bearcats deserved better.

Kenny Ocker (29 Posts)

Kenny Ocker is a graduate of the University of Oregon and a copy editor for The Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Wash. He has been a contributor for Rush the Court since December 2010. He can be reached via email and you can follow him on Twitter.

Share this story

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *