PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Phil Martelli sees a lot of those old, tough Temple teams in this year’s Saint Louis defense.
“I think, and people accuse me of blowing smoke, they’re a top 10 team because have something to hang their hat on,” said Martelli, the longtime Saint Joseph’s coach. “And in this city we should appreciate that because that’s how John Chaney’s teams won all the time, because of the Temple zone. Now you have the Saint Louis man-to-man.”
No matter the era, the Hawks had a hard time trying to solve the D.
Rob Loe scored 17 points and Jordair Jett had 10 points and seven assists to help No. 13 Saint Louis top Saint Joseph’s 65-49 on Wednesday night for a team-record 15th straight victory.
The Billikens (21-2, 8-0 Atlantic 10) topped 14-game winning streaks set in the 1958-59 and 1993-94 seasons.
“We don’t think about it, we don’t talk about it, it’s not said,” Saint Louis coach Jim Crews said of the winning streak.
The Billikens, who needed overtime to beat George Mason on Saturday, extended their best start in team history and are 8-0 on the road.
Saint Louis last lost Dec. 1 to Wichita State, 70-65.
“I think it’s great, but I think it’s expected of us,” Loe said.
Ronald Roberts Jr. had 19 points for the Hawks (15-7, 5-3), who missed 14 of 15 3-point attempts.
The tentative Hawks got a taste of what it’s like playing against the Billikens: They missed 16 of 22 shots from the field (1 for 6 on 3s) in the first half for a miserable 27 percent. That’s not good enough to beat even the weakest nonconference team, much less against a program that’s won NCAA tournament games in consecutive seasons.
“They were just standing on top of guys,” Roberts said. “It was hard to hand the ball off because I would try to go to their side and the guy would be just over him and stuff. So I really had to try to make a play from the top of the key. But we knew they were one of the top defenses in the country.”
Saint Louis is winning at home, on the road, close ones and blowouts. All of the Ws have added up to a season to remember.
But the Billikens are only focused on what’s ahead
“We don’t even look at the winning streak,” guard Austin McBroom said. “Coach always talks about moving on to the next game.”