Feb. 19, 2009
ST. LOUIS, Mo.--Saint Joseph's fell to Saint Louis, 73-71, at Chaifetz Arena Wednesday night. Ahmad Nivins led the way for the Hawks with 22 points and 11 rebounds. It was SJU's third straight loss. Darrin Govens and Garrett Williamson chipped in with 10 points apiece.
A three-pointer by Williamson with just over two seconds to go set up the final plays as SJU got within one at 72-71.
Saint Joseph's (14-11, 7-4 A-10) fought hard in the second half but couldn't overcome a stingy Saint Louis (16-10, 7-5 A-10) squad as the Billikens held on to a slim lead in the waning moments.
Kevin Lisch missed the first of two free throws for a 73-71 lead with 1.2 seconds remaining. A desperate three-pointer by Nivins was long and Saint Louis walked out the victors.
After a three-point deficit to start the second half, the Hawks attacked the basket early and often, finally regaining the lead after a pair of Nivins free throws at 38-36 with 16:25 to go. It was the first time Saint Joseph's held the lead since 6-5 with 15:01 in the first half.
After trading baskets with the Billikens, consecutive fast break lay-ups by Williamson and Idris Hilliard (eight points) gave SJU a 42-38 advantage, capping an 11-3 run with just over 15 minutes remaining.
Saint Louis wouldn't back down, fighting back with a 13-4 run over five minutes for a 51-46 lead.
In the first half, Nivins provided the largest contribution to the Hawks' offense. The senior forward totaled 12 points, shooting 6-for-9 from the field, including an 18-foot fade-away jumper to beat the first half buzzer.
Thanks to Nivins, SJU was able to stay with the Billikens, who held as much as a six-point lead in the first stanza.
Saint Joseph's found itself a bit behind the eight ball because Hilliard picked up two quick fouls to start the game. SJU had to rely heavily on freshmen Bryant Irwin and A.J. Rogers to fill the power forward position. The duo combined to play the final 16 minutes of the half. Another freshman, Chris Prescott, added nine points off the bench, matching his season high.
The Hawks out-shot the Billikens 57% to 49% overall and 44% to 35% from three-point range. Both teams were stellar from the line, combining to make 28 of 33 free throws. SJU held a slim 26-24 rebounding edge, but turned the ball over four more times, 13 times to the Billikens' nine.
Saint Joseph's returns home this weekend to play UMass on Sunday. Tip-off is slated for 2:00 p.m. at The Palestra.
BOX SCORE 1 2 Total
Saint Joseph's 29 42 71
Saint Louis 32 41 73
SJU Rebounds: Nivins 11, Irwin 4, Hilliard 3, Carr 2, Rogers, Williamson
SJU Assists: Carr 6, Govens 2, Nivins 2
- SJU -