AMHERST, MASS. • SLU snapped a three-game losing streak and won the Atlantic 10 Conference title outright with a dramatic 64-62 win over Umass on Sunday.
Jordair Jett, who has been practicing through a knee contusion suffered against Dayton on Wednesday, drove to the basket and scored with 3.4 seconds left to give SLU its first lead since the first half. Umass had a long 3-pointer at the buzzer that missed.
No. 17 SLU is 26-5,13-3 in the A-10. Umass is 23-7, 10-6.
Jett had 17 points and Dwayne Evans had 14 for SLU. Chaz Williams had 20 for Umass.
After the game, SLU took a bus to West Point, N.Y., where Crews, who coached at Army before coming to St. Louis, arranged for the team to stay and train on Monday. The team will head into New York City on Tuesday for the A-10 tournament, which starts on Wednesday, though SLU doesn't play its first game until Friday.
SLU trailed by two at the half, 35-33, and had only itself to blame after making just two of seven free throws. Jett made the second of two with 1:24 to play to put SLU up 33-31 and after Umass had scored on its next two possessions to go up 35-33, Evans, a 75 percent shooter at the line, had a chance to tie the game with 4.1 seconds left and missed both.
It was a seesaw first half, with the lead changing hands seven times after SLU had gotten out to a 9-2 lead. Jett had nine points and SLU stopped one of the things it had been doing a lot of in the past few games, namely allowing offensive rebounds.
SLU was down 40-39 midway through the second half, but couldn't score on four straight chances to take the lead. SLU was again down one on a layin by Evans that made it 48-47, but Williams beat SLU back on defense to make the lead three again. That started an 8-2 Umass run that put the Minutemen up 56-49 with 5:49 to go, SLU's biggest deficit of the game to that point.
SLU battled back to make it a two-point game on a short basket by Loe and then a 3-pointer by McCall, just the second successful 3 by SLU in the game in 13 tries. SLU got a stop and had a chance to tie but Jett's 18-footer was off the front rim. SLU got another stop and Evans tied the game with a 2-footer he made while falling down.
Umass responded with an 8-footer by Derrick Gordon, and Jett drove to the basket but couldn't score. Sampson Carter laid the ball in after a drive by Williams and SLU responded by getting the ball inside to Evans for a basket with 1:54 that left SLU down two points, 60-58.
The teams exchanged baskets and Jett tied the game on a drive with a minute to play. SLU got a stop and got the ball back with 36 seconds, allowing them to work for the last shot. They gave it to Jett with 8 on the clock, and he drove for the winner.
More to come.