ST. LOUIS — Make it 19 in a row for the Atlantic 10 Conference’s runaway front-runner.
Guard Jordair Jett scored 16 points and No. 10 Saint Louis clamped down on George Washington during the last nine minutes on Saturday night for a 66-59 win.
Center Rob Loe tacked on 12 points for the Billikens (25-2, 12-0), which can clinch the top seed for next month’s conference tournament by beating Duquesne at home on Thursday night. Forward Grandy Glaze came off the bench to add 10 points.
Guard Joe McDonald paced the Colonials (20-7, 8-5) with a game-high 21 points, and center Kevin Larsen had 14 points and 11 rebounds. Forward Patricio Garino contributed 11 points.
But George Washington guard Maurice Creek, the team’s leading scorer at 14.1 points per game, connected on just 2-of-12 shots from the field and scored just five points before fouling out with 1:36 left.
Saint Louis broke away from a 50-50 tie with a 12-2 spurt during a 5:37 span late in the second half. Guard Jake Barnett capped it by sinking his only field goal, a 3-pointer from the left corner, with 2:56 remaining for a 10-point lead.
George Washington rallied, getting a 3-pointer from McDonald with 1:25 left to chop the deficit to 62-59. McDonald and Garino each missed potential tying 3s in the final minute.
Guards Austin McBroom and Mike McCall Jr. iced it for the Billikens by making two free throws each in the final 20.7 seconds.
Saint Louis gradually expanded its lead over the first half’s last 11 minutes as it started working the ball inside with consistency against George Washington’s man-to-man and 1-3-1 zone defenses.
The Billikens made it 22-16 at the 7:44 mark on a putback by backup center John Manning, then got a surprising boost from Glaze. He scored seven straight points and upped the lead to 29-19 with 5:10 left on a reverse layup.
Larsen kept the Colonials within striking distance by scoring 12 points in the half, but Creek did not score and sat out the last five-plus minutes after drawing his third foul.
Saint Louis took a 39-27 advantage into the locker room on a fast-break dunk by Loe with 3.6 seconds remaining.
NOTES: The sellout crowd on Saturday night was the second straight for Saint Louis and only the seventh since Chaifetz Arena opened in 2008. Five of those capacity crowds have occurred in the last two seasons. … George Washington entered the game as the only A-10 team with five players averaging double-figure scoring and is also the only team to be ranked in the top five of the conference in scoring offense (fourth), scoring defense (fourth), field goal percentage (third) and field goal percentage defense (third). … During their 18-game winning streak, the Billikens’ average margin of victory is 11.1 points.
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