ST. LOUIS — Saint Louis' 19-game win streak may have been fun while it lasted and it was certainly no fun for the Billikens when it ended.
Saint Louis players, looking as glum as they have looked since their last loss, back on Dec. 1, admitted they were outplayed on Thursday night in a 71-64 loss to Duquesne at Chaifetz Arena.
The Billikens couldn't match Duquesne's energy, couldn't find room to maneuver inside and couldn't make up for it by hitting from outside. "They outplayed us," forward Rob Loe said. "They had more energy and we didn't execute well on offense. They just outplayed us."
"You have to come to play every game," forward Dwayne Evans said. "As a team, I think we knew that but this reinforces it."
The loss puts on hold until at least Saturday 10th-ranked Billikens' chance to clinch at least a share of its second consecutive Atlantic 10 title and the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament.
It was an unfamiliar evening for Saint Louis in so many ways. The team's last loss was to Wichita State on the first day of December, and for all the close calls SLU has had recently, they were rarely outhustled, and never for such long of stretches as Thursday.
From beginning to end, there were precious few moments where the Saint Louis offense seemed to click.
"Not really," Saint Louis coach Jim Crews said. "We really weren't strong around the bucket at times. That's from small guys, big guys, medium-sized guys. It was a team thing. They've got quick hands, strong hands. That was problematic for us at times."
"We didn't shoot that well," Loe said. "We were kind of selfish on offense. We weren't taking good shots. We were taking shots on our own, we weren't going through our offense. We were taking it out of our offense, and you're not going to make a lot of shots doing that."
Saint Louis shot 40.4 percent from the field. They've won shooting worse, but not on a night the opponent was shooting 53.3 percent on 3's, as Duquesne was.
Saint Louis was four for 23 on 3-point shots and surrendered 13 offensive rebounds, which Duquesne turned into 14 points. Saint Louis also had 16 turnovers. For Duquesne (12-15, 4-10), it was its first win over a top 10 team on the road since a win against No. 6 Bradley on March 5, 1962.
Mike McCall had 18 points, seven at the foul line, and Evans had 10 points and 12 rebounds, but also four turnovers. Jordair Jett finished with 13 points but had five turnovers.
"Throughout the whole game we weren't communicating well," Loe said. "We weren't playing hard. We tried to get it back and it never clicked."
Micah Mason had 22 points for Duquesne, hitting four 3-pointers, and Jerry Jones had 19.
Saint Louis moved ahead 42-35 with 13 minutes to go in the second half and looked to be taking control. The Billikens appeared to have forced a turnover but Mason caught up with a loose ball and tossed in a 35-footer just ahead of the shot clock.
"That's how we diagrammed that play," Duquesne coach Jim Ferry said. That started an 8-0 Duquesne run that soon became an 18-2 run and the Dukes led 53-44, the most Saint Louis had trailed by in a game since before Thanksgiving.
First Published February 27, 2014 10:40 PM