After a loss at home to the UMass Minutemen, SLU entered tonight’s game against the St. Joseph’s Hawks with a 9-12 record and only 1 win in A10 conference play. This SLU team has struggled with stopping the big men of their opponents. With that in mind, head coach Jim Crews made a starting line up change with the freshman Austin Gillman getting the start.
The Billikens started off hot when freshman Marcus Bartley knocked down a three-pointer. SLU would then give up a put back opportunity for St. Joseph’s. SLU then struggled from the floor, which allowed St. Joe’s to go on a 9-2 run to extend their lead to 11-7.
After the TV timeout, Billikens freshman Brett Jolly hit a nice step back jumper to cut the lead to 13-9. The St. Joe’s had a inbounds play where they hit a wide open three on a terrible communication on the defensive end. The Billikens then cough up the ball and allow them to have an easy dunk. These extended the St. Joe’s lead to 18-11. Then, St. Joseph’s hit another three to grow their lead to 21-11. After an empty Billiken’s possession, the Hawks were able to hit another three to grow their lead to 24-11. The Billikens would finally stop the Hawks run when junior Ash Yacoubou hit his first three of the game to cut the lead to 24-14.
After the TV timeout, the Billikens turned up the pressure on the passing lanes of the St. Joseph’s Hawks. This lead to an easy lay up from Ash Yacoubou. On the offensive side, the Billikens began to settle down and remained patient, which lead to more passes and open baskets to cut the lead to 24-16. Both teams incurred long scoring droughts throughout the first half.
With 6 minutes left in the first half, freshman Milik Yarbrough ended the scoring drought with a nice jump-hook to cut the lead to 24-18. SLU had a nice stop on the defensive end, which lead to a wide-open layup that Yarbrough was unable to lay it in. Then, St. Joe’s was able to hit two free throws to grow their lead to 26-18. On the next possession, SLU worked the ball around the horn, and freshman Miles Reynolds found cutting freshman Marcus Bartley to lay it in to cut the lead to 26-20.
After the TV timeout, Miles Reynolds hit one of two free throws to cut the lead to 26-21. The Billikens stopped the Hawks which provided an opportunity for wide-open layup; however, Yarbrough fumbled the ball out of bounds. The Hawks hit both free throws on the other end to grow their lead by 7. Miles Reynolds hit a wide-open jumper to cut the lead to 28-23. The teams traded buckets to grow the score to 30-25. As time winded down, St. Joe’s was unable to convert their last opportunity, so the score at halftime remained 30-25.
At half, the Billikens shot 37.5% from the field and 2-10 (20%) from the 3-pt line. The Billikens were outrebounded by the Hawks, 21-13. The Billikens played better defense toward the end of the first half that helped the Billikens force the Hawks to turn the ball over 9 times.
Down by five at the half, St. Joe’s had the ball on the offensive possession as he drove the ball to the basket and got fouled. The Hawks hit one of two to grow their lead to 31-25. On the next Billiken possession, Ash Yacoubou drove to the basket and got the lay in to cut the lead to 31-27. The teams traded baskets as the lead changes to 33-29. Marcus Bartley banked in a three to cut the lead to 33-32. The Billikens forced a stop from the Hawks; however, Yacoubou dribbled the ball out of bounds. The Hawks responded with a three of their own to grow the lead to 36-32. Yacoubou drove baseline to get an easy reverse lay in to cut the lead to 2.
After the TV timeout, the teams traded empty possessions and run up and down the court. The Hawks ended the scoring drought to grow the lead to 38-34. Miles Reynolds hit both free throws to cut the lead to 38-36.
After the TV timeout, the Hawks rebounded their own miss for an easy put back to grow the lead to 40-36. Yarbrough responded with an easy lay in to cut the lead to 2. After a Hawks bucket, sophomore Reggie Agbeko hit a nice reverse lay up to cut the lead to 2 again. After a Hawks turnover, Marcus Bartley hit a lay up to tie the game at 42. The Billiken gained the lead after a jumper to grow the lead to 44-42. After a Yarbrough steal, he found Ash Yacoubou for a lay up and drew the foul.
With 7:50 left in the game, Yacoubou hit the free throw to grow the lead to 47-42. The Hawks hit a three pointer to cut the lead to 47-45. Reggie Agbeko drove to the rim and hit a reverse lay up to grow the lead to 49-45. After the Hawks completed a three-point play, the Billiken come up empty possession. The Hawks hit two of three free throws to take the lead to 50-49. After missing the basket, freshman Davell Roby hit a lay up and made the free throw to regain the lead to 52-50. Yacoubou hit a nice easy lay up to grow the lead to 54-50. The Billikens failed to get back in transition as the Hawks hit an open jumper to cut the lead to 54-52.
With 3:50 left in the game, the Billikens were unable to hit. The Hawks worked the ball down low to their big man, and he laid it in as Yarbrough fouled the shooter. The Hawks were unable to convert on the free throw, which tied the game at 54. On a drive to the basket, Roby fouled by the Hawks. Roby hit one of two to give the Billikens the lead by 1. On the next Hawks possession, Bartley was able to draw an offensive foul. With 1:37 left in the game, Austin Gillman went to the free throw line, but he missed the bonus free throw. The Hawks hit one of two to tie the game at 55. Saint Louis called a timeout.
After the timeout, the Billikens moved the ball and with 30.2 seconds left, Marcus Bartley drove to the basket and got the lay up to go, which gave the Bills the lead at 57-55. The Billikens forced the Hawks into a hard shot; however, the Hawks were able to hit a jumper to tie the game at 57-57. We were headed to overtime folks.
Ash Yacoubou hit one of two to take the lead to 58-57. The Hawks hit one of two to tie the game at 58. Roby drove to the basket and was able to draw a foul. Roby hit one of two free throws to give the Billikens the lead by one. Yacoubou made one free throw to give the Billikens a two-point lead. Reggie Agbeko used a pump fake to get the defender in the air and get the easy lay up to give the Billikens the lead by four. The Hawks made one of two free throws to cut the lead to 62-59. Ash Yacoubou drove toward the basket and made the lay up to grow the lead to 64-59. The Hawks responded with a two-point jumper to cut the lead to 64-61.
With 43.1 seconds left, the Billikens forced to now make their free throws. Sophomore Mike Crawford went to the line and knocked down both free throws to grow the Bills lead to 66-61. Milik Yarbrough rebounded the Hawks missed shot and finished the game with a empathic dunk to grow the lead to 68-61. The Billikens win the game, 68-61!
The “Billikids” squad needed this win to inject energy and belief into this young team. The Billikens fought back after being down by 13 points at a moment in the game. Ash Yacoubou led the team in scoring with 20 points and 6 rebounds. The Billikens finished the game shooting 49.1% and holding the Hawks to shooting 37.9% from the field. The Billikens accomplished this great shooting percentage by being patient and moving the ball with efficiency. The Billikens turned up the pressure on the Hawks forcing them to turn the ball over 17 times throughout the game.
Great shooting and good defense is a great recipe for success for a young team. The Billikens grab their second A10 Conference win and travel to Fordham to take on the Rams on Saturday at 3:00 p.m.