Billikens defend new ranking in A-10 clash with visiting Hawks

Into the Associated Press national rankings for the first time this season at No. 18, the Saint Louis Billikens are set to entertain the Saint Joseph's Hawks in Atlantic 10 Conference action at Chaifetz Arena on Wednesday night.

Thriving at home this season where they've played 17 of their 26 games, the Billikens have a record of 15-2 in their own building and are 5-1 versus league foes. On Friday night the squad went up against nationally-ranked Butler on the road and brought home a 65-61 win, which means the Billikens have now won nine straight games.

Since opening the 2012-13 campaign with a split over six games, Saint Louis has posted 18 wins in 20 opportunities and is now in first place in the A-10 standings as a result.

As for the Hawks, they were most recently in action on Saturday when they defeated visiting George Washington, 71-59, at Hagan Arena. The victory was the second in the last three games for Saint Joseph's which means the squad has split 12 league bouts on the season.

Last season the Billikens defeated Saint Joseph's in Philadelphia by a score of 72-60 which means the all-time series now favors Saint Louis by a count of 6-2, the Billikens having won six straight since the Hawks began the relationship with a pair of wins in 2006.

Scoring the first points of the game against the Colonials on Saturday afternoon, Saint Joseph's built a double-digit lead at the break before grabbing the 12-point win. Langston Galloway was responsible for a game-high 26 points, shooting 6-of-9 behind the 3-point line while also registering four steals in the victory. Carl Jones posted 15 points, C.J. Aiken 13 and Halil Kanacevic 10 rebounds and six assists to go with his four points off the bench.

A starter in 20 of the 23 games in which he has appeared, Jones has made the most of his time on the floor for the Hawks, putting up 14.7 ppg thanks to his 51 3-pointers. Galloway checks in with another 13.8 ppg and is the only one ahead of Jones in terms of 3-pointers made with 61 at this stage. As a whole, the Hawks are averaging just over seven 3-pointers per game, helping to push them to 67.8 ppg.

Despite shooting only 35.5 percent from the floor in the first half, including 1-of-10 beyond the arc, the Billikens still were hanging around in the second half against Butler on Friday night and were able to pull out a road win at Hinkle Fieldhouse. Mike McCall dropped in 18 points, Dwayne Evans 17 and Kwamain Mitchell another 12 points for the visitors as they survived just 3- of-17 shooting beyond the arc overall.

One of three players to have started every game this season for the Billikens, Evans heads the scoring list with his 12.0 ppg and he is also first on the unit with close to seven rebounds per contest as well. A reserve the entire way in 2012-13, Cody Ellis checks in with 11.0 ppg as one of the better 3- point shooters on the squad with 49 conversions, yet he is still hitting only 36.3 percent of his field goal attempts overall.