No. 10 SLU Continues Run, Wins 19th Straight

SAINT LOUIS, Mo. -- Another dismal free-throw shooting performance by the Saint Louis University men's basketball team nearly bit it yet again, but ultimately the Billikens outpaced George Washington to win its 19th straight game by a score of 66-59.

In front of 10,623 fans, the second-largest crowd in Chaifetz Arena history, No. 10 SLU clamped down on defense and held the visiting Colonials to just 32 percent from the field.

After senior wing marksman Jake Barnett nailed a three-pointer to put the Bills ahead 62-52 with 2:57 left, it looked as though that was the dagger. Alas, SLU's free-throw woes (15-for-25 on the night) allowed GW to creep back into the game.

Joe McDonald and Patricio Garino each had a chance to tie the ballgame but their three-point attempts went awry and some late additions at the charity stripe made for the ending seven-point differential.

"Our guys are very mature and emotionally strong," SLU head coach Jim Crews said. "They're competitors."

SLU shut down the Colonials for the most part in the first half, surrendering just 27 points in the first 20 minutes. The Billikens' impressive half was capped by a steal and Rob Loe slam dunk with just seconds remaining to put SLU up 39-27 heading into the locker room.

In the second half, however, the home Bills came out and took several ill-advised shots, setting up GW with a chance to make a comeback.

Junior Grandy Glaze missed a simple layin that would've put the Bills up 16 points, instead GW stormed back and tied up the game 50-50 in just a matter of eight minutes.

Crews insisted that the first ten minutes of the second half were some of the worst during this impressive 2013-14 campaign for SLU.

"We played three quarters of the game particularly well," Crews said.  "They were crushing us on the offensive boards in the first ten minutes of the second half. . .we were taking shots early in the shot clock and not getting our inside guys involved."

At that moment, Crews called a timeout and set up a play for Loe inside.  It worked, as he found position deep on the block.  From there, the Bills reeled off 10 straight points, gaining a 60-50 advantage over GW.

"I wasn't sitting there saying we would win," GW coach Mike Lonergan said after his team tied up the game. "I thought we had a chance. It wears you down, this style of play. Saint Louis has to be the best defense in the league."

Shorthanded GW simply couldn't keep up with the bodies that the Billikens throw at you.  They got just two points from their bench.

"[Mo] Creek got tired and let his man drive right by him, those are the backbreaking plays that are really disappointing," Lonergan said. "We had to rely on Joe all night and that's all we had. Hopefully we can get Kethan Savage back for the conference tournament. We just don't have any depth right now."

The GW head man had some positive words for the Billikens though, who have started 12-0 in A-10 play this season.

"It's surprising [that they're 12-0]," he said. "They've had some close games, but this gives them some confidence. . .for them to be undefeated in this conference, it's unbelievable. This is a Top 5 conference in the nation in my opinion."

Grandy Glaze, who fouled out in just six minutes of action against George Mason played a big role in the win over GW.

"I didn't have the best game [against GMU]," he said. "I didn't have a high motor and didn't have a good, positive attitude. . .I have the best teammates in the world and they supported me. Tonight I was able to help the team win."

"Glaze was key," Lonergan said. "He comes in and manhandles us. We couldn't match that. We don't have someone on the bench like that. That helps them a lot."

NEXT UP: SLU faces Duquesne at home on Thursday evening.

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