Weather-wise, Saint Louis wound up with a bad week to play two games in Philadelphia. Sleeping on a school record for consecutive wins likely helped ease any hardships.
The 13th-ranked Billikens will look to end their time in the winter storm-crippled city Saturday night by extending their winning streak to 16 games in a visit to La Salle.Saint Louis (21-2, 8-0 Atlantic 10) set the program-best mark with a 65-49 victory Wednesday at Saint Joseph's. Rob Loe led the Billikens with 17 points and said they haven't yet impressed themselves with the streak."I think it's great, but I think it's expected of us," said Loe, who's third on the team with 10.1 points per game but has averaged 20.0 over his last two.Jordair Jett (12.7 points per game) was the only other Saint Louis player in double figures with 10 points, but there wasn't much required on the offensive end.Saint Louis coach Jim Crews singled out his team's defense after Saint Joseph's shot 31.9 percent from the field, including 1 of 15 from 3-point range."We were exceptional defensively tonight," Crews told the school's official website. "We played great team defense. Our guys did a great job anticipating things and disrupting their flow. We played extremely well. I thought we also played equally as well on offense as we did on defense."That defense has held opponents to an Atlantic 10-low 58.6 points per game on 38.7 percent shooting, also stingiest in the league.Saint Louis last lost on Dec. 1 to still-unbeaten Wichita State, and its only other defeat came two games earlier against then-No. 10 Wisconsin, but Crews has his team only looking forward."We don't even look at the winning streak," guard Austin McBroom said. "Coach always talks about moving on to the next game."That'll be against a team that's dropped four of five after a 3-0 start in the A-10.The Explorers (12-10, 4-4) continued their struggles Wednesday in a 79-67 loss at Massachusetts. They shot 39.7 percent and have been held to 36.8 over their last five.Still, they're confident going up against Saint Louis on their home court, where they're 8-2 overall and 3-1 in the A-10. Saint Louis, however, is 8-0 in true road games."What everyone in this league does is win at home," La Salle coach John Giannini told the school's official website. "We've won at home for a long time. We've won 85-90 percent of our home games. That's what this league is coming down to right now."Against UMass, forward Jerrell Wright led the Explorers with 16 points and seven rebounds, while Tyreek Duren scored 13. Duren averages a team-leading 14.5 points.La Salle is 0-1 against ranked opponents this season but beat three of the four it faced a season ago -- the loss coming by 24 points in its last meeting with then-No. 16 Saint Louis on March 9. Loe scored a game-high 20 points, while Saint Louis leading scorer Dwayne Evans (14.6 ppg) had 16 points and a career high-tying 17 rebounds.The Explorers have lost the last three meetings with the Billikens.