A 23-0 run midway through the second half helped Saint Louis pull away from Saint Joseph’s, earning the 68-57 win in Atlantic 10 action at Chaifetz Arena.
Jared Bynum led Saint Joseph’s (8-10; 1-5 A-10) with 18 points and eight assists while Taylor Funk chipped in 10 points and 12 rebounds for his first career double-double. The Hawks’ leading scorer Charlie Brown, Jr., was limited to nine points.
Saint Louis (14-4; 5-0), in first place in the league, connected on 11 three-pointers in the game, hitting five in the second half. Dion Wiley and Javon Bess led the Billikens with 20 points apiece with Hasahn French adding 10 points and 11 rebounds.
The Hawks opened the second half with a 10-2 run, including six points from Bynum, to pull within 36-35. But Saint Louis answered with 23 straight points to take a 56-35 lead as the Hawks were held scoreless for over six minutes until Funk connected on a three-pointer with 6:38 to play. Saint Louis then took its biggest lead, 59-35, with seven minutes remaining, but saw the Hawks come within nine points, 63-54, with 33 seconds left.
Saint Joseph’s connected on 22 percent from the field and only 15 percent (4-of-26) from three-point range in the contest.
"We faced a really strong defensive unit and didn’t put the ball in the basket. It’s offense, it’s offense, it’s offense. And then when you’re not putting the ball in the basket, everything has to be perfect," said head coach Phil Martelli. "People always think that to stop a run you have to play great defense. You have to score. You score and it takes a little air out and then you can stop it. But if the ball’s not going in the basket, you can’t."
Midway through the first half, Saint Joseph’s trailed, 15-13, after a dunk by Lodge, but the Billikens hit three consecutive threes to take a 24-15 lead. Saint Louis increased it to 28-17, but Lorenzo Edwards scored six straight to cut the Hawks’ deficit to 28-23. The home team went up again by 11, 34-23, before SJU cut it to 34-25 by halftime.
The Hawks will play two consecutive games in Philadelphia, hosting Richmond on Wednesday, January 23 at Hagan Arena, and taking on Penn at the Palestra on Saturday, January 26.