Saint Louis scored eight consecutive points in the final minutes to defeat Saint Joseph’s, 61-60, at Chaifetz Arena, in a game that saw both teams hold double-digit leads.
With Saint Joseph’s leading 58-53, Davell Roby connected on a three-pointer at 1:55 to cut it to 58-56. Saint Louis took its first lead of the second half, 59-58, on a three by Mike Crawford with 1:04 remaining. After a Saint Joseph’s turnover, Aaron Hines’ layup at :23 gave the Billikens a 61-58 lead. The Hawks couldn’t score on their next possession, and after missed free throws by Crawford gave SJU another chance, James Demery drove in for a layup as time expired to provide the final margin.
Chris Clover scored 17 points for Saint Joseph’s (10-18; 3-13 A-10) with Charlie Brown scoring 16. Demery had 15 points and Brendan Casper had a career-high seven assists. Jai Williams grabbed a career-high eight rebounds.
Jalen Johnson led Saint Louis (10-19; 5-11) with 17 points and 10 rebounds while Reggie Agbeko had 11 points and 11 rebounds.
The Hawks dug a deep hole from tip-off, missing their first eight shots, as Saint Louis took a 12-1 lead before Saint Joseph’s scored its first field goal at the 12:34 mark.
Saint Louis’ biggest lead of the half was 12 points and with the Hawks trailing 22-11, the offense started to come alive. Saint Joseph’s outscored SLU 14-0 over the final 6:41, as Clover accounted for nine points. The Hawks took their first lead of the game, 25-22, on a three-pointer by Clover with 12 seconds to go in the half.
In the second half, Clover hit his first two three-pointers of the half to give Saint Joseph’s a 35-29 lead. Brown hit three consecutive three-pointers to give Saint Joseph’s its biggest lead to that point, 48-37, at 10:36. A pair of free throws by Casper extended SJU’s lead to its biggest of the game, 50-37, with 9:48 to play.
But Saint Louis took advantage of a number of missed plays by the Hawks and used a 15-2 run to tie the game 52-52 with over five minutes to play.
After taking just two free throws in the first half, Saint Louis made 11-of-17 in the second half. The Hawks shot 16-for-29 from the line in the contest. SJU shot a season-best 71.4 percent from three-point range in the second half.
“We’ve got guys in positions and for whatever reason they felt uncomfortable. We stopped processing. We didn’t think. We gave up a layup down one with no time left on the shot clock. Then obviously there’s the last play of the game. And you shoot 16-for-29 from the foul line. Al across the game they’re just in situations where they’re not comfortable. Large portions of the game we communicated and did the right things but we also had some thoughtless defensive possessions,” said SJU coach Phil Martelli.
Saint Joseph’s will close out the home portion of the schedule on Wednesday, March 1, when it hosts Rhode Island for “Senior Night”.