On Tuesday night, the very young Saint Louis University Billikens traveled to Terre Haute, Indiana to take on the 1-0 Indiana State Sycamores. The Billikens were coming off a 62-59 win over the SIU Salukis.
Last night, the Billikens started off the game by spotting the Sycamores 10-0 lead. The Billikens were 0-7 from the field during the open stretch. Junior guard Austin McBroom got the Billikens on the board with a jumper. The Sycamores were leading throughout the first half even stretching their lead to 12 points. The Billikens then turned it on offensively and went on a 14-1 run to lead at halftime, 28-27.
Both teams came out at half time and both struggled from the floor offensively. The Billikens then found ways to get to the basket. The Billikens used a 13-5 run fueled by three layups and a three-point play from freshman Milik Yarbrough to pull away. Sophomore Mike Crawford’s 3-pointer made it 58-44 with 4:55 remaining. This would fuel the Billikens to a winner, 69-56.
The Billikens were lead by junior Ash Yacoubou who managed to post a respective 15-point game. Freshman Marcus Bartley finished the game with 10 points. Also, 12 Billikens played for at least 10 minutes in yesterday’s game. The Billikens are 2-0 and now play next Sunday against the Texas A&M Corpus Christie Islanders in the first game of the Corpus Christie Coastal Classic at Chaifetz Arena.
I liked what I saw from the Billikens last night. When they got off to a terrible 0-7 from the field, the Billikens did what they knew how to do, which is play great defense and rebound. That’s exactly what the Billikens did. The great defense coupled with great rebounding allowed the Billikens to always keep the game within reach. The offense got better as the game went on as the Billikens became more aggressive and frequently attacked the basket.
It’s good knowing that the Billiken defense can be relied on when the Billikens have offensive woes. One has to be impressed by the way the incoming freshman, nicknamed the “Billikids,” have played with such poise and maturity at such a high level of competition.
I am going to keep this in perspective though. I do realize that the Billikens did beat the Indiana State Sycamores who come from the Missouri Valley Conference and are not like the opponents the Bills will be playing during Atlantic 10 Conference play; however, one has to be excited and impressed by the Billikens and the “Billikids” squad because they were able to go on the road, struggle through the growing pains, and come out the other side with a victory. If the Billikens can continue to play at this level throughout the season, we will see the blue light be lit on top of Chaifetz Arena many times throughout the season.