By Mike Dougherty


PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The St. Joe’s men’s basketball team has departed campus and the hawks are headed to Spokane, Washington where they will play the final game of the first round in the NCAA Tournament.

The Hawks are flying 2,500 miles to take on a tough 22-10 Cincinnatti team in an eight vs nine seed matchup in the west bracket.

Coach Phil Martelli says there are two keys to ensure they play more than one March Madness game on this long trip.

“We really have to rebound the ball, and it hasn’t been a problem for us this year to score the ball, but we have to be able to score the ball against a really terrific matchup zone.”

He says upper classmen leaders like Isiah Miles and Deandre Bembry have to help keep the team focused while all of the other games are being played.

“They have to understand we’re playing a game. We’re not just spectators.”

Bembry says the large crowd gathered to send them off provides some extra motivation.

“Just having all these people behind us just gives us an added boost in confidence for the tournament coming up,” Bembry said.

Tipoff is Friday at 9:57 p.m. E.T. on Tru TV.