By Mary Cunningham

The Hawk is almost dead!

JeQuan Lewis scored a career-high 34 points with nine 3-pointers, Justin Tillman added 14 points and grabbed 13 rebounds and VCU beat Saint Joseph’s 91-81 last night to win its seventh straight.

The Rams led by 11 points early in the second half, but the Hawks closed to 57-54 on Charlie Brown’s 3-pointer. Later, VCU’s lead was cut to 82-76 with 1:01 left but Saint Joseph’s got no closer as the game became a free-throw shooting contest.

It’s the fifth straight defeat for the Hawks, who lost leading scorer Lamarr Kimble to a season-ending fracture in his left foot in Saturday’s 87-76 loss to Massachusetts. Saint Joseph was also without Shavar Newkirk, who suffered a torn ACL on December 30 after leading SJU with a career-best 20.3 scoring average.

Lewis’ 3-pointer put VCU up for good 47-44 late in the first half and the Rams led 48-44 at halftime.

Doug Brooks scored 12 and Samir Doughty 10 for the Rams (21-5, 11-2 Atlantic 10), who have won 10 straight at home.

Clover scored 21 for Saint Joseph’s (10-15, 3-10), who are on their longest losing streak since a nine-game skid in January 2011.