Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - A pivotal showdown in the Atlantic 10
Conference takes place on Wednesday night, as the 13th-ranked Saint Louis
Billikens come calling on the Saint Joseph's Hawks.
Saint Louis has enjoyed a tremendous run through the first few months of the
season, going an impressive 20-2, which includes a perfect 7-0 mark in
conference play. The Billikens' two losses came against formidable foes in
Wisconsin and Wichita State back in late November and early December, and
since then the team has won 14 straight games. SLU's most recent triumph came
in an 87-81 overtime affair at home against George Mason. The Bills are 7-0 in
true road games this season.
Saint Joseph's has been rock solid of late, winning six of its last seven to
streak out to a 15-6 overall record, which includes a 5-2 league ledger. The
Hawks, who are seeking their ninth home win in 11 chances this season, upset
previously ranked Massachusetts in their most recent outing, 73-68. The road
doesn't get any easier for SJU from here, as next up is another home game
against VCU this Saturday.
After losing the first two encounters in the series, Saint Louis has beaten
Saint Joseph's in each of the last seven.
Saint Louis continues to be one of the best defensive teams in the country, as
it yields just 59.0 ppg, with foes shooting a mere 39.0 percent from the
floor, which includes a 28.5 percent showing from 3-point range. George Mason
was allowed to stretch the court a bit in its recent visit to Chaifetz Arena,
as the Billikens surrendered 68 points in regulation and another 13 in
overtime, but still managed to prevail thanks to a near-perfect showing in the
extra session from the field (4-of-5). Rob Loe led five players in double
figures, netting 23 points. SLU won the game at the free-throw line, as it
went an astounding 23-of-25 there compared to a 6-of-7 effort by the Patriots.
Loe's effort upped his season scoring average to 9.8 ppg, which has him third
on the team behind Jordair Jett (12.8 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 4.8 apg) and Dwayne Evans
(14.9 ppg, 6.5 rpg). As a collective unit, the Billikens are putting up 71.5
ppg, while logging favorable margins in both rebounding (+3.3) and turnovers
Despite winning significantly more games than it has lost, Saint Joseph's is
averaging less than four points more than it permits (72.2 to 68.7 ppg). The
team boasts a starting five that nets double figures on a regular basis, led
by Langston Galloway and his 16.7 ppg. Ronald Roberts (14.1 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 20
blocks) and Halil Kanacevic (11.2 ppg, 8.7 rpg, 26 blocks) have produced at
both ends of the court, and they have been instrumental in helping the Hawks
log a +4.7 rebounding differential. SJU is guilty of nearly 13 turnovers per
outing, while goading the opposition into 10.5 tpg.
Saint Joseph's was outshot in its recent clash with UMass (.491 to .412), but
used a 25-12 edge in points from the free-throw line, and took advantage of 15
Minutemen miscues. Kanacevic hit for 18 points and Roberts added 17 to pace
the Hawks in the victory. DeAndre' Bembry and Chris Wilson chipped in with 13
and 12 points, respectively.
The Sports Network