JASON L. YOUNG
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Rob Loe figures if the Saint Louis Billikens put together a complete game this season it will be special. For now, they'll take what they can get.
Jordair Jett scored 16 points, Loe added 12 and No. 10 Saint Louis earned its 19th straight win by holding off George Washington 66-59 Saturday night.
"It was a little closer than we wanted it to be," Loe said. "We kind of took our foot off the pedal there, but we came out with the 'W' and that's what we really wanted."
Joe McDonald scored 21 points and Kevin Larsen had 14 for George Washington (20-7, 8-5). Larsen and Isaiah Armwood grabbed 11 rebounds apiece.
The Colonials, who trailed 41-27 early in the second half, went on a 14-2 run to tie the score at 50 on Maurice Creek's short jumper with 9:18 left. George Washington went 3 of 18 the rest of the way.
Saint Louis coach Jim Crews said his team did a better job of handling the ball and keeping George Washington from getting rebounds after the Colonials tied the game. He also credits his plea to his players to get closer to the basket before they took shots for spurring a 12-2 run that gave the Billikens a 62-52 lead with just under three minutes left.
"We quit taking jump shots like crazy in terms of early in the possession ... and trying to shoot our way through instead of execute our way through," he said. "Very uncharacteristic of us."
Wichita State (29 straight) and Stephen F. Austin (22) are the only teams with longer winning streaks than the Billikens.
Saint Louis shot 55.2 percent in the first to take a 39-27 lead at the break and Jett scored the first basket to open the second half.
The Billikens struggled from the free-throw line (12 of 25), 3-point range (3 of 16) and were outrebounded 42-36, giving up 17 offensive boards. But they shot 48 percent from the field and held the Colonials to 32.8 percent shooting from the floor.
It was the fifth time in six games that Saint Louis won by seven points or fewer.
"We kind of expect to come out with the W," said Loe, who led Saint Louis with nine rebounds. "We never think we're going to lose. We were comfortable being where we were. How many games straight now that it's been close like that? We're comfortable in situations like that where we can execute down the stretch."
Saint Louis' reserves outscored George Washington's 22-2. Coach Mike Lonergan said his players had little energy left in the final minutes. He used 10 players but they totaled just 21 minutes, nine from John Kopriva who scored the reserves' only basket.
"I was worried about us being tired and I had already used at least two or three timeouts and I was thinking who can I sub and try to get guys a couple of minutes," he said. "Then the game just kept going a little bit too fast pace for us and we gave up some easy baskets."
The Colonials have been without starting guard Kethan Savage, who broke his small toe Jan. 18 at St. Bonaventure. The Colonials have gone 5-4 since, including losing three of their past four.
Grandy Glaze came off the bench for the Billikens to score 10 points and grab seven rebounds. That performance came a game after he fouled out at George Mason in six minutes of play.
"I just got back to being myself and that's just having a high motor, a good attitude, high energy, being a team guy," he said. "That's all I've got to do. The rest will take care of itself."
Saint Louis needs just one more win to clinch the top seed in the Atlantic 10 tournament and two more to win the league outright. Two of its final four games are at home, against Duquesne on Thursday and Dayton. The Billikens play at VCU and finish the season at Massachusetts.
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