In an effort to put some life into St. Louis University’s sometimes hard-to-find offense, Billikens coach Jim Crews has been invoking the words of one coach with Indiana roots, John Wooden, rather than the one he played for, Bob Knight.

“Be quick, but don’t hurry.”

Crews has, in recent weeks, been telling his team to be more aggressive on offense, and the results have been positive. While SLU’s school-record 15-game winning streak continues to be driven mostly by the team’s defense, its offense is perking up.

SLU, which faces La Salle today, has scored 68 or more points in regulation in four of its past five games — it probably could have been five for five if the team hadn’t called off the dogs at the end of the St. Joseph’s game on Wednesday — and, at a point in the season when it should be tougher, has shot 44 percent or better in four straight games. The Billikens did it just seven times in the first 17 games.

SLU’s points per possession, which measures offensive production separate from the pace of play and for which anything over 1.0 is considered good, has been over that mark in the past five games. While its adjusted defensive efficiency, as calculated by analyst Ken Pomeroy at kenpom.com, remains among the best in the nation (SLU is No. 2 to Ohio State at the moment), its offense has moved up from being ranked around 190 to 162 as of Friday.

“Aggressive does not mean quicker shots,” Crews said. “It’s snapping passes, snapping the ball, cutting through harder, attacking more aggressively off the dribble. It’s your speed to the screen, rolling harder to the basket, physically ducking in and doing that cleanly, doing all those components at a different speed, a different intensity. Don’t just be a catcher (on a pass), be a threat.”

“I feel like we’re definitely starting to get more aggressive,” guard Mike McCall said Friday. “For the guards, us being aggressive opens up things for the other guys. We’re coming off ball screens and looking to score, and that opens up things for the bigs down low. Being aggressive is a big part of our offense.”

Crews praised SLU’s defensive effort in its 65-49 win over St. Joseph’s as one of its best of the season — St. Joseph’s made just six field goals in the first half and was one for 15 on 3’s in the game — but he also went out of his way to note that the offense was every bit as important to the win as the defense.

“I thought we had good player movement, good ball movement,” Crews said. “We were going from one side to the other and complementing post-ups with 3’s and 3’s with drives. I thought we were equally as good on offense as on defense.”

And an offense that even gets close to the effectiveness of SLU’s defense would make the streaking Billikens even harder to beat.

“That’s one of the big things we’re working on” offensively, guard Austin McBroom said, “being able to match our defense.”

“Right now, I think we’re equal” on offense and defense, said McCall. “But we can get better on both sides of the ball.”

Increased aggressiveness, but still being patient in looking for shots, may be helping no one more than McCall. He scored just six points in SLU’s first three A-10 games, going two for 15 from the field. He’s averaged 11.4 in the five games since, including scoring 15 against George Mason, his most since a career-high 19 points against SIU Carbondale in November. He’s shooting 51 percent in that span and has made seven of 15 3’s in the past four games.

“I feel I’m getting my confidence back,” said McCall, who was second only to Dwayne Evans in scoring among returning players from last season but is now fifth on the team in scoring. “I’m staying after practice and shooting, being aggressive, looking to score and get people involved. I’m getting more into the offense.”