Saint Louis (18-5) at Saint Joseph's (15-9)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, February 8th, 8:30 p.m. (et).
FACTS & STATS: Site: Hagan Arena (4,200) -- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Television: TCN-PHI, Local. Home Record: St. Louis 12-1, Saint Joseph's 10-1. Away Record: St. Louis 3-4, Saint Joseph's 3-7. Neutral Record: St. Louis 3-0, Saint Joseph's 2-1. Conference Record: St. Louis 6-3, Saint Joseph's 5-4. Series Record: Saint Louis leads, 5-2.
GAME NOTES: Winners of all but one of their 11 home dates so far this season, the Hawks of Saint Joseph's try to remain almost perfect as they host the Saint Louis Billikens in Atlantic 10 Conference action at Hagan Arena in Philadelphia.
After winning a total of just three games in the month of January, the Hawks are off to a strong start to February with back-to-back victories against Richmond (70-60) on the road and La Salle (70-66) at The Palestra over the weekend. With the victories, Saint Joseph's is now 5-4 in conference play which places the program in the middle of the pack.
Surging towards the top of the conference standings are the Billikens, who at 6-3 enter action tonight tied with UMass, La Salle and Xavier for second place behind on Temple which is 6-2. Like the Hawks, SLU has also won two games already this month, thanks to a 58-50 triumph over Dayton at home last Saturday.
With respect to the all-time series between these two schools on the hardwood, the Billikens lead by a count of 5-2 after Saint Joseph's won the first two matchups. The Hawks have never defeated Saint Louis at home.
There weren't a lot of points to go around on Saturday at Chaifetz Arena, but Brian Conklin stepped up and claimed his share with 16, while Kwamain Mitchell and Cody Ellis tallied 12 and 10 points, respectively, as the team survived a mediocre 40.0 percent shooting from the floor, just 4-of-17 beyond the arc and 18-of-31 at the free-throw line. More than anything, it was the defense for the Billikens that did the trick as the group held Dayton to a miserable 24.6 percent shooting from the field and 4-of-24 beyond the arc. Overall this season, the Billikens have had one of the tightest defenses in Division I, holding opponents to just 56.9 ppg while the offense is coming away with 69.7 ppg. Leading the attack is Conklin with his 14.9 ppg, stemming from 58.3 percent shooting from the field, followed by Mitchell (11.8 ppg) and Ellis (10.5 ppg) even though the latter has been used almost exclusively as a reserve.
Facing off against one the biggest surprises in the A-10 so far this season, the Hawks and Halil Kanacevic managed to handle the La Salle Explorers as the forward finished with 18 points and 15 rebounds in a four-point win in front of a capacity crowd at The Palestra. Carl Jones responded with 13 points as the team fought through just 1-of-10 shooting behind the three-point line and a total of 15 turnovers. Like the Billikens, Saint Joseph's also played tough of defense over the weekend by holding the Explorers to a mere 33.3 percent from the field. Jones checks in with 16.0 ppg and is second on the unit with his 78 assists, although he has one more turnover than dish so perhaps passing up his own shots is not always the best idea. Langston Galloway is responsible for another 15.5 ppg and has made himself into one of the deadliest perimeter shooters in the league with his 45.9 percent accuracy.
As long as the pace of this game is set by the Billikens, the home team will again have a hard time finding that elusive win in this series.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Saint Louis 65, Saint Joseph's 61
02/08 10:32:00 ET