PHILADELPHIA (Ticker) -- After getting off to a poor start in the last game, Jameer Nelson and Saint Joseph's were ready from the outset in the Atlantic 10 Conference opener.
Nelson scored 17 of his 29 points in the first half as the 10th-ranked Hawks heated up to post a 90-81 victory over George Washington.
Spurred by Nelson, St. Joseph's (11-0, 1-0, A-10 East) shot 56 percent in the first half to build a 46-42 advantage that it never relinquished.
"He's a tremendous player," George Washington coach Karl Hobbs said. "He's fun to watch. Unfortunately, I was watching him today. I will be seeing him in my dreams."
The preseason Atlantic 10 player of the year, Nelson made 10-of-15 shots and also grabbed seven rebounds as Saint Joseph's broke the previous best start in school history, a 10-0 start in 1964-65.
"I think we got a good day from all of the guys. Coach (Phil Martelli) gave me a little pep talk a couple of days ago," Nelson said. "I've been starting the games a little flat."
Dwayne Jones added a career-high 23 points and pulled down 10 boards for the Hawks, who finished at 64 percent from the floor. Jones recorded his second career double-double after Tuesday's 14-point, 11-rebound effort at Delaware, a game in which the Hawks pulled away for a 75-54 rout after shooting just 28 percent (7-of-25) before the break.
"It's great to be in the history book," Jones said about the best start in school history. "It's a good feeling."
Jones, who entered the contest averaging just 6.3 points per game, connected on 8-of-10 shots from the floor and 7-of-13 free throws.
"Dwayne Jones made basketball plays," Martelli said. "He was in the position to make the next play to (contain) their frenzied game."
Carl Elliott scored 18 points and Pops Mensah-Bonsu added 17 and 11 rebounds off the bench for George Washington (6-6, 0-1 West), which lost its fourth straight game. Philadelphia native Omar Williams contributed 14 points for the Colonials.
The Hawks took the lead for good by scoring seven straight points, capped by West's layup for a 13-8 lead 4:14 into the contest. The Colonials had a chance to seize the lead, but Williams was called for an offensive foul after a steal and Nelson sank a pair from the line to make it 33-30 with 5:26 left in the first.
"What I was really proud of (was) we never lost the lead, despite the number of times they came at us," Martelli said.
Mike Hall, who had 12 points and five boards, made a pair of free throws to close the deficit to 52-49 just 78 seconds into the second half. But the Colonials got no closer as Nelson converted a three-point play 51 seconds later.