PHILADELPHIA (Ticker) -- A jinx and a visit from another unbeaten team in Atlantic 10 Conference play did nothing to slow down Jameer Nelson and St. Joseph's.
Nelson scored 16 points and handed out six assists as the third-ranked Hawks maintained their bid for an unbeaten season with an 81-67 victory over Dayton.
The entire campus at St. Joseph's (21-0, 10-0 A-10 East) was abuzz with the news that Nelson was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated, the first in school history.
However, there was some concern over the magazine's infamous cover jinx, with West Division leader Dayton (19-4, 9-1) having won nine straight games.
"I'm not superstitious at all, so I don't really care what people say about the SI jinx," Nelson said.
St. Joseph's rode its dynamic duo of Nelson and Delonte West as well as a vociferous crowd at the Alumni Memorial Fieldhouse to a 36-25 halftime lead.
West scored 18 of his 24 points in the second half, when the Hawks shot a sizzling 65 percent (13-of-20).
After Dayton closed within 65-56, West took over in an 8-0 tear. He drove and found Tyrone Barley for a 3-pointer, converted a layup and took a feed from Nelson for a shot from the arc and a 73-56 cushion with 3:46 remaining.
"They're the best backcourt in the country," Dayton coach Brian Gregory said. "What separates them from other backcourts, and I've seen good ones, is that each one of those guys can get 30 points if they need to."
There was an early sense of fear in the gym because of the jinx as Nelson missed his first five shots and St. Joseph's looked sluggish.
"There's no such thing," Hawks coach Phil Martelli said. "(It) never hurt Michael Jordan. Think about the people that have been on that cover. Michael Jordan, Jack Nicklaus, like those guys are only legends."
The Hawks found their stride as an 11-2 run capped by Pat Carroll's 3-pointer made it 30-17 with 4 1/2 minutes to go before halftime.
Dayton chipped away in the second half, using its size advantage to gain numerous second shots and stay close. Keith Waleskowski collected 20 points and 10 rebounds for the Flyers, who held a 37-30 edge on the glass.
But Dayton's perimeter players had trouble keeping up with Nelson and West. Mark Jones also had trouble on the offensive end, making 1-of-10 shots for two points.
The Flyers lost for the first time since a 61-59 setback at Wyoming on January 3.