(photo credit: Saint Louis University Athletics)
The (10-13, 2-8) Saint Louis University Billikens returned to action tonight against the (17-5, 7-3) Dayton Flyers. The Bills were looking to get back to action and put their Fordham loss behind them. The Bills had already lost to the Flyers earlier in the season to a score of 61-45.
The Billikens had a great start when freshman Marcus Bartley hit a three-pointer to start off the Billiken scoring. The two teams would both hit a scoring drought for 2 minutes. Then, freshman Milik Yarbrough broke the scoring drought by hitting a jumper to grow the lead to 5-0.
The Flyers would eventually get on the board with a layup by Kendall Pollard. The two teams would trade baskets back and forth each going on 4-point runs.
At the 10:53 mark, the Flyers began to separate themselves with a three from Darrell Davis who extended the Flyers lead to 15-11. SLU would respond right away with a layup from senior John Manning and a jumper from junior Ash Yacobou to tie the game at 15.
With 4:42 left in the first half, both teams were tied at 19. The Billikens went on a scoring run of their own with scoring coming from Yacoubou, Yarbrough, and freshman Davell Roby. The Bills took their 25-19 lead into halftime.
The Billikens held the Flyers to shooting at 28% from the field and shot 37%. The Billikens controlled the glass outrebounding the Flyers 20-17. The Billikens and Flyers tied on turnovers both committing 8.
The teams came out in the second half, and both teams were cold for the first 3 minutes of the second half.
At the 17:15 mark, the Flyers broke the drought when Justin Sibert hit both free throws to cut the lead to 25-21.
The referees called this game extremely tight as both teams were in the bonus by the 14:13 mark. Saint Louis finished the night shooting 11-15 (73.3%) from the free throw line. This was definitely a sign of improvement from the squad and a positive to take away from the game.
Both teams would trade baskets and empty possessions back and forth with neither team growing a substantial lead.
With less than 4 minutes to play in the game, SLU led 42-41. On the next possession, sophomore Mike Crawford hit a two to grow the lead to 44-41.
The Flyers Kendall Pollard hit both free throws. On the next Flyers possession, Darrell Davis hit a three-pointer to take the lead to a score of 46-44. The Flyers hit one of two free throws to grow their lead to 47-44.
SLU had 5 turnovers in the last 3 minutes of the game. The Billikens were also in a scoring drought lasting 3 minutes. During this stretch, the Billikens hit 2 of the last 8 from the field.
The Flyers hit both free throws to grow their lead to 49-44. After another Billikens turnover, the Flyers hit another two free throws to grow a lead to 51-44. The Flyers would go on to win the game to a score of 51-44.
The Billikens fall to 10-14, 2-9 on the season. The Bills finished shooting 33% from the field and finished with a total of 19 turnovers. On a positive note, the Billikens outrebounded the Flyers 36-33.
The Billikens deserved to lose this one with terrible closing out a game management by turning over the basketball 5 times in the last 3 minutes of the game. This team clearly doesn’t value possessions or proper handling of the ball. This another sign that this young squad has a lot more growing up to do and leaving fans frustrated and aggregated as they go through the growing pains of a young, inexperienced Billiken squad.
Next up for the Billikens is a game at Rhode Island on Saturday, February 14th; Tip off is at 1:00.