Davell Roby hit a free throw with 3.1 seconds to go to lift Saint Louis (12-11; 5-5 A-10) to a 60-59 win over Saint Joseph’s (9-12; 4-5) in Atlantic 10 action at Hagan Arena. The Hawks had one last chance but couldn’t get a shot off as time expired.
Freshman Taylor Funk scored 21 points for Saint Joseph’s, hitting 4-of-9 three-pointers while Shavar Newkirk had 16 points. The Hawks were without leading scorer James Demery, who suffered an ankle sprain in SJU’s loss at Penn. Nick Robinson started in his place and scored seven points and handed out six assists.
Saint Louis was led by 11 points from Jalen Johnson and Aaron Hines, while Roby finished with 10 points, as did Hasahn French.
Saint Joseph’s trailed for all but a minute in the game, and by as much as 13 points in the first half, but forced a tie in the final two minutes. After Saint Louis went up 59-53 at 1:52 after consecutive three-pointers from Johnson and Hines, Funk hit a layup for SJU and Newkirk connected on a three-pointer with 53 seconds to go. Newkirk was then fouled on the Hawks’ next possession and made one of two free throws with 13 seconds left to tie the score at 59-59.
On Saint Louis’ final possession, Roby was fouled and although he missed the first free throw, he put in the second to give the Billikens the win.
Saint Joseph’s allowed Saint Louis to build upon a 33-30 halftime lead and increase it to 38-30 in the first five minutes. The Hawks went on a 12-4 run to force a 42-42 deadlock with over eight minutes remaining and then took their first lead, 45-44, on Funk’s fourth three of the game.
The lead was short-lived as Saint Louis went back up 48-45 after four consecutive free throws from Roby. The Hawks went ahead one more time, 51-50, on a three-pointer from Robinson at 3:38, but the Billikens would regain the lead quickly.
In the first half, both teams shot poorly but Saint Louis used a 10-0 run to build up a 21-8 lead, its biggest of the game, while keeping the Hawks scoreless for over three minutes. Markell Lodge’s dunk at 7:18 broke SJU’s streak and the Hawks would then outscore the Billikens, 19-9, over the remainder of the half. Included that run was a 14-5 spurt over the final four minutes, led by a pair of three-pointers from Funk.
The loss snapped a five-game home winning streak for Saint Joseph’s and was their fourth loss by three points or less in the month of January.
“Turnovers (11) and offensive rebounds (5). Basketball is always a numeric game. We told them there would be a shot fake at the end,” said SJU coach Phil Martelli. "They were slow in their attack. Certainly, the zone contributed to that. But the offensive rebounds, it's a multiple-shot possession. Instead of one shot, let's get out and run. They out-ran us to get the lead in the first half, but there were no fast-break points in the second half for either team. We didn't rebound the ball cleanly.
SJU will play its third consecutive game in Philadelphia on Saturday when it visits La Salle in a nationally-televised contest on CBS Sports Network at 4 p.m.