Davell Roby scored 19 points to lead three Billikens in double figures, but Atlantic 10 Conference leader Rhode Island fought off a second-half Saint Louis challenge to escape Chaifetz Arena with a 72-65 victory Tuesday night.
The Billikens slipped to 8-9 overall and 1-3 in conference play. Rhode Island improved to 12-3, 4-0.
Roby was 11-of-12 from the foul line, recording season highs for free throws made and attempted and leading SLU to a season-best 80 percent (24-of-30) from the stripe.
D.J. Foreman notched a second consecutive double-digit scoring total, going 4-of-6 from the field and 5-of-6 from the line for 13 points. Jalen Johnson scored 10 points and tied Javon Bess (nine points) for team-high rebounding honors with seven boards, including a game-high four on the offensive glass.
Hasahn French tossed in nine points, while Jordan Goodwin tallied a game-high three steals and a team-high four assists.
Rhode Island’s Jared Terrell led all scorers with 20 points. Andre Berry collected 17 points and a game-high 10 rebounds, E.C. Matthews scored 10 points, and Jeff Dowtin had a game-high eight assists.
Saint Louis trailed 51-43 after Terrell drilled one of his three 3-pointers with 14:22 remaining.
The Billikens responded with a 12-4 spurt to pull even, 55-55, at the 10:32 mark. Roby and Foreman accounted for five and four points, respectively, during the run.
After Roby canned two free throws to tie the score, Rhody immediately regained the lead and was in front 62-57 with 7:17 left. SLU answered with Foreman’s short jumper, two Roby free throws and French’s layup for a 63-62 edge with 5:47 remaining.
Unfortunately, the rally stopped there, and the Rams outscored the Billikens 10-2 down the stretch.
The Billikens led 8-5 following a Bess layup, but Rhode Island put together an 11-2 run to go on top 16-10 with 11:18 remaining.
The Rams maintained the upper hand the rest of the half despite several Billiken challenges. After Saint Louis whittled the lead to two points at the 9:32 mark, URI stretched the margin to eight. The Billikens closed to within three with 5:44 left, only to see the Rams gain their largest cushion, 34-25, with 4:18 to play.
However, SLU concluded the period with a 10-4 spurt. Roby began and ended the run with buckets and the Billikens sank six free throws in between, part of their 12-of-14 first-half performance from the stripe. Rhode Island led 38-35 at the break.
Up next for Saint Louis is a trip to Fairfax, Virginia, to face George Mason Saturday, Jan. 13. Tip time is 1:30 p.m. (CST), and the game will be aired on NBC Sports Network.