ST. LOUIS -- In its first game this season as a ranked team, the No. 24 Saint Louis Billikens struggled with the athleticism and ball movement of the St. Bonaventure Bonnies on Wednesday night.
But the Billikens countered with tough rebounding and better second half shooting to record a 66-60 Atlantic 10 Conference win at Chaifetz Arena.
It was the 10th straight win for SLU (16-2, 3-0), which converted 63.2 percent of its field goals after halftime. It also out-rebounded the Bonnies 45-32, limiting them to six offensive rebounds.
Senior forward Dwayne Evans led the Billikens with 18 points, including a foul line jumper with 1:15 left which made it 64-57. Senior guard Jordair Jett added 15.
Senior guard Matthew Wright paced St. Bonaventure (11-6, 1-2) with 17 points, while sophomore forward Dion Wright came off the bench to score 16 points. Reserve guard Jordan Gathers hit for 12 points.
Gathers sank a 3-pointer with 10:10 left to give the Bonnies a 47-45 lead, but SLU ripped off a 12-1 run. Freshman guard Mike Crawford drilled a pair of 3s, his second one upping the advantage to 57-48 with 7:06 remaining.
The Billkens held on from there despite missing 14 of 30 free throws and committing 16 turnovers.
After Saint Louis grabbed an 8-3 lead at the first TV timeout behind six points from forward Dwayne Evans, the game became a slugfest.
Neither team shot well. St. Bonaventure made only 11 of 28 in the first half and the Billikens were even more inaccurate, canning just 11 of 34 and missing some point-blank looks at the bucket.
The teams combined for 10 blocked shots in the half, six by the Bonnies. On one SLU possession, St. Bonaventure blocked three consecutive shots and then forced a turnover that Gathers turned into a transition layup.
Jett's steal and layup gave the Billikens a 28-24 lead with 26.9 seconds left in the half, but Gathers drained a 3-pointer just before the horn to send the Bonnies into the locker room trailing by just a point.
NOTES: This game is St. Bonaventure's second straight against a Top 25 team, as it lost Saturday at Massachusetts. The last time it played ranked teams in consecutive games was 1996, when it fell to No. 8 Virginia Tech and No. 1 UMass. ... Saint Louis is allowing opponents to make just 24.9 percent of 3-pointers, which ranks second in Division I. ... Billikens G Jordair Jett is the reigning Atlantic 10 Conference Player of the Week after averaging 21.5 points in road wins against Rhode Island and Dayton.