ST. LOUIS — Facing the Atlantic 10’s first-place team, St. Joseph’s gave the St. Louis Billikens as scare at the start of the second half.
The Hawks’ 10-2 run after halftime cut the Billikens’ lead to one point. St. Louis, though, responded with 23 unanswered points to pretty much settle the issue in its 68-57 win.
Jared Bynum led St. Joseph’s (8-10, 1-5 A-10) with 18 points and eight assists while Taylor Funk chipped in 10 points. The Hawks' leading scorer, Charlie Brown, was limited to nine points on 1-for-11 shooting from the floor.
St. Louis (14-4, 5-0) hit 11 three-pointers. Dion Wiley and Javon Bess led the Billikens with 20 points apiece with Hasahn French adding 10 points and 11 rebounds.
“We faced a really strong defensive unit and didn’t put the ball in the basket,” St. Joe’s coach Phil Martelli said. "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.
“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.”
Bynum scored six of the points at the start of the second half as the Hawks cut the Billikens’ lead to 36-35.
But then the Hawks were held scoreless for more than six minutes as St. Louis pumped up its lead to 59-35 with seven minutes left.
St. Joseph’s clawed back within nine points, 63-54, with 33 seconds left, but it had been too big a deficit to overcome.
The Hawks shot 22 percent from the field and only 15 percent (4-of-26) from three-point range in the contest.
Midway through the first half, Saint Joseph's trailed, 15-13, but the Billikens hit three consecutive threes to take a 24-15 lead. St. 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.