There were lapses. They felt there were times when they did not play as well as they could have.

And yet, as the St. Louis University Billikens have done throughout their 17-game winning streak, when they had to get something done, they did it.

The 12th-ranked Billikens extended their school-record win streak and grabbed the Atlantic 10 Conference by the collar with a 64-62 win over Virginia Commonwealth on Saturday before a sellout crowd of 10,639, the largest crowd ever at Chaifetz Arena. Yes, there were plenty of missed free throws and offensive rebounds surrendered, and a 9-0 VCU run in the second half lowlighted by a SLU pass directly to a VCU player for a layup. But SLU got baskets on two critical possessions with the score tied in the final two minutes and got two equally critical defensive stops.

“When it comes down to it, in the last two minutes,” forward Dwayne Evans said, “we really look at each other and say, ‘Let’s get it done.’ We trust each other to be in the right place and do the right thing.”

In their win streak, SLU has gotten it done in the closing minutes against Rhode Island, Duquesne, George Mason, La Salle and now against VCU. It’s SLU’s seventh win in the streak by six points or less.

The win puts SLU (23-2, 10-0 in the Atlantic 10) up by 2½ games on second-place VCU (20-6, 8-3) with six to play, and with most of the top teams playing other top teams in the final three weeks, it’s becoming increasingly hard to picture a scenario in which SLU doesn’t win the league title for the second straight season. The win also gives SLU a victory over a top 50 RPI team, its first this season.

It would be overstating things to call this game, SLU’s first sellout of the season, one for the ages, but in college terms, it was certainly one for the aged. SLU’s five seniors all played at least 33 minutes, and sophomore guard Austin McBroom was the only other player to see significant minutes. And the seniors responded. Evans had 21 points and 10 rebounds, Jordair Jett had 14 points, five assists and six rebounds, Rob Loe had 14 points and Mike McCall had 12 points and four assists. The rest of the team had three points.

It was an emotional win for SLU, with players, notably Evans, letting their feelings out throughout the game. But by end, it was business as usual.

“We didn’t play great, but we’ll take the win,” said Evans, who played the final minutes with his right leg clearly in pain although he termed it a “butt tweak” that he didn’t think was very serious. “It’s funny, because you’d think we’d be sky high after a win like this, but come Monday, it’s back to business. Wednesday’s going to be just as big a game as this one.”

“After the game,” said coach Jim Crews, who had his share of fist pumps as well, “they’re just kind of sitting there. ‘All right, class is out, see you guys Monday.’ They don’t have a lot of external emotion. But they’re excited. They compete and it really means something to them. They know how hard it is. I think the reason they’ve done well is they really respect people. That’s a great trait no matter where you sit in life.”

VCU coach Shaka Smart said, “They’re a terrific team. Their best players stepped up and really made some big plays down the stretch.”

It was, as Crews said, a 15-rounder. VCU forced 12 turnovers in the first half and led by as many as six but SLU’s defense did enough to put it ahead by halftime. SLU committed just five turnovers in the second half to keep things in order. VCU, meanwhile, shot just 38 percent from the field and made just two of 16 3-point tries, some of which were wide-open looks. (“If we shoot our normal percentage from 3,” Smart said, “we’re in pretty darn good position.”)