St. Joe's pounded by No. 18 Saint Louis

slideshow-022713-sju-wilson-ap.jpg

St. Joe's pounded by No. 18 Saint Louis

BOX SCORE

ST. LOUIS -- Saint Joseph's got a season-best 25 points from Ronald Roberts. The rest of the stat sheet was pretty sad.

The Hawks got routed in the second half and ended up on the wrong end of a 70-53 loss at No. 18 Saint Louis on Wednesday night. They shot a season-worst 32.6 percent and were outrebounded 41-29, giving up 15 on the offensive end.

"In the second half, I know it sounds like a simple game, but they made layups and we didn't," coach Phil Martelli said. "The rebounding margin is a cause of concern. You can't have a plan for a putback. Those putbacks killed us."

Dwayne Evans had 21 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks in one of his most complete games of the season for Saint Louis, which has won 10 in a row and leads the Atlantic 10.

Rob Loe had 11 points and six rebounds and Mike McCall Jr. contributed 10 points, five assists and four rebounds for the balanced Billikens (22-5, 11-2).

Saint Louis cracked the Top 25 this week for the first time this season after beating a pair of ranked opponents on the road. The Billikens have won by double digits eight times during their winning streak.

Coming off an eight-point effort in a victory over George Washington, Roberts was a standout with three dunks.

But Carl Jones, the Hawks' leading scorer with a 14.7-point average, missed his first seven shots, including two airballs, and finally got on the board midway through the second half. He finished with three points.

Langston Galloway added 11 points on 2-of-11 shooting for Saint Joseph's, which was just 3 for 17 from 3-point range and has lost seven straight in the series by an average of 10 points.

"They had a whole bunch of offensive boards," Roberts said. "They rotate well and had a man open it seemed like all the time to get those offensive boards. Give them credit."

Saint Louis outscored Saint Joseph's 21-5 over the first 9 minutes of the second half to go up 50-32. The Billikens locked down on defense, holding the Hawks to a 2-for-10 start.

"Their defense was what we thought it would be, but we had no fast-break points," Martelli said. "We've got to get our pace up.

"I thought we were a little bit passive."

Evans leads Saint Louis with averages of 12 points and 6.8 rebounds, and he averaged 15.6 points during the first nine games of the streak. McCall is averaging 14 points over the last three games.

Saint Louis hit its first three 3-pointers and led by 10 after four straight points by Evans made it 27-17 with 4:03 to go, but the Billikens finished the half 1 for 6.

Saint Joseph's shot just 33 percent in the half but was 11 for 13 at the free throw line and outscored Saint Louis 5-0 in the final minute to narrow the gap to two points. Roberts had 12 points with a pair of dunks in the first half, topping his average by a point four days after he was held to eight points in 16 minutes against George Washington.

The Billikens' depth was tested in the first half with Kwamain Mitchell, Jordair Jett and Cody Ellis each getting called for two fouls.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

No. 12 Villanova at Elon: Wildcats eager for CAA road win

villanova-elon-matchup_0.jpg

No. 12 Villanova at Elon: Wildcats eager for CAA road win

No. 17 Villanova (3-1, 1-0) at Elon (2-2, 1-0)
Rhodes Stadium, Elon, N.C.
Saturday, 3:30 p.m.

Climbing in the national rankings, Villanova looks for its fourth straight win this weekend in a road CAA contest. Here’s a look at the matchup:

Scouting Villanova
After a season-opening loss to Pittsburgh, the Wildcats have won three straight, including a 31-14 rout of Lafayette last week. The Wildcats’ defense continued to flex its muscle in that victory with senior defensive end Tanoh Kpassagnon scoring on a 25-yard fumble return to go along with his two sacks and sophomore linebacker Jeff Steeb returning an interception 45 yards for a TD. For the season, Villanova’s defense has now scored four touchdowns in four games while its rushing defense ranks 21st in the country, allowing just over 100 yards per game. Offensively, running backs Aaron Forbes and Javon White formed a nice tandem last week with both scoring and Forbes running for a career-high 111 yards on 11 carries.

Scouting Elon
The Phoenix bounced back from two straight losses to start the year with a home rout of Fayetteville State and a massive 27-10 road win over nationally ranked William & Mary last week. Just its second victory over over a top-10 FCS program, Elon was led by a 120-yard, two-TD rushing game from Malcolm Summers and an opportunistic defense that intercepted three passes. Elon does have some question marks offensively with several underclassmen in prominent roles, including sophomore Daniel Thompson, who took over for the injured Connor Christiansen at quarterback after the first game. But Elon’s passing offense still ranks third in the CAA with 206.5 yards per game.

Series history
This will be Villanova’s first-ever game vs. Elon, which joined the CAA in 2014.

Storyline to watch
Kpassagnon, an NFL prospect, was the biggest reason why Villanova extended its winning streak to three, putting all kinds of pressure on Lafayette and setting the tone by scoring a defensive touchdown on the first play from scrimmage. He’ll have a chance to do that again and try to rattle a young quarterback early. And he may need to have another big game in what figures to be a low-scoring affair between two hot defenses.

What’s at stake?
Elon and Villanova are among six teams that are 1-0 in the conference, meaning the winner of this game could rise to the top of the conference after just two games.

Prediction
Elon’s win last week was very impressive, but it seems unlikely that this young Phoenix squad can knock off two nationally ranked teams in a row. Villanova 24, Elon 14.

Minnesota vs. Penn State: Poor defenses could lead to shootout

penn-state-minnesota-matchup.jpg

Minnesota vs. Penn State: Poor defenses could lead to shootout

Penn State (2-2, 0-1) vs. Minnesota (3-0, 0-0)
Beaver Stadium, State College
Saturday, 3:30 p.m., Big Ten Network

Scouting Penn State
The Nittany Lions were flattened by Michigan last week, 49-10. PSU was outgained 515-191, and continues to struggle with the health of its defense, especially as it pertains to its linebacker corps. The expectation is that injured ‘backers Jason Cabinda and Brandon Bell will again sit out this week, and that freshman Cam Brown will make his first collegiate start at an outside ‘backer spot, alongside former reserves Brandon Smith and Manny Bowen. Another freshman, Connor McGovern, is likely to make his first start at right guard, replacing Derek Dowrey along the struggling offensive front. Penn State is last in the Big Ten in rushing offense, total offense, rushing defense and scoring defense, and next-to-last in sacks allowed and turnover margin.

Scouting Minnesota
Rodney Smith rushed 17 times for 99 yards and two touchdowns as the Gophers beat Colorado State 31-24. Shannon Brooks, in his first game back from a foot injury, ran 13 times for 85 yards and a score, as Minnesota piled up 249 yards on the ground in all. Kobe McCrary had just four carries last week, but a week earlier he ran 17 times for 176 yards against Indiana State. The Gophers average 228.3 yards a game on the ground, fifth in the conference. They are also 14-for-14 in red-zone opportunities, with 13 touchdowns, and have converted 55.8 percent of their third-down opportunities, second-best in the Big Ten and fifth-best among FBS teams. The offensive triggerman is Mitch Leidner, who is fourth in the conference in passing yardage (237.3) and seventh in total offense (244.7).

History
Penn State owns an 8-5 lead, but the Gophers won the most recent meeting, 24-10, in 2013.

Storyline to watch
Besides the defensive issues, the Lions have had trouble unleashing running back Saquon Barkley, their most potent offensive weapon. Part of that is the offensive line’s continuing struggles, but Barkley also admitted that he has tried to make every run a big play, rather than putting his head down and taking what the defense gives him.

What’s at stake
While coach James Franklin would not admit it Tuesday, these next two weeks – home games against the Gophers and Maryland – would appear to be critical, should the Lions hope to become bowl-eligible.

Prediction
While the weather forecast is not the best, this has the look of a shootout, as neither defense appears to be dominant. The Lions are looking to bounce back from an embarrassing loss, and are playing at home, so give them a 30-24 nod.