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Saint Joe’s gets an ‘Ash’-kicking

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Michael DiMaria / Staff Photographer

Michael DiMaria / Staff Photographer

Michael DiMaria / Staff Photographer

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High five: Yacoubou greets a fan after a stellar performance at home against Saint Joseph’s, shooting 8-of-10 from the field. Michael DiMaria / Staff Photographer

High five: Yacoubou greets a fan after a stellar performance at home against Saint Joseph’s, shooting 8-of-10 from the field.
Michael DiMaria / Staff Photographer

The second half started much in the same way with both teams trading off baskets in the opening minutes before the Billikens found their rhythm and went on a 7-0 run that ended with freshman center Austin Gillmann hitting a three, giving SLU a 37-34 lead over the Minutemen with 16:44 remaining in the game.

UMass scored the next 10 points of the game and it seemed that this would be the end for the Billikens until SLU slowly made a comeback.  Freshman guard Davell Roby and sophomore guard Mike Crawford lead the team’s scoring in the final minutes of the game with a combined nine points. Crawford hit two free throws, diminishing SLU’s deficit to only two points with less than a minute left in play.

Sophomore forward Reggie Agbeko grabbed a huge rebound for the Billikens that would give Jim Crew’s team one final play for the tie that would send the game into overtime. With the shot clock turned off, the Billikens set the play into motion and found Gillmann at the 3-point line, but the shot did not find its mark. UMass scored at the buzzer to win the game 60-56.  This is the Billiken’s fourth straight loss; the team fell to 9-12 after the loss, and 1-7 in the A-10 Conference.

The Bills played Saint Joseph’s at home on Tuesday, Feb. 3, without senior-center John Manning, who showed concussion-like symptoms before game day.

The Billikens started off strong after tip off when freshman guard Marcus Bartley hit a three and Gillmann sank a baseline jumper to give the Bills a 5-2 lead. Saint Joseph’s responded by scoring on 10-15 drives and went up 24-11 with 11:28 left in the first.  Billikens ended the half 25-30.

The second half would be much closer than the first. With 4:22 left in the game, guard Ash Yacoubou weaved his way to the basket, hitting the layup that gave SLU the 54-52 lead.  St. Joseph’s responded with a wide-open back door by Javon Bauman, who was  fouled on the play, but missed the three-point play opportunity. On the opposite side of the court, Roby drew a foul on a drive and went  1-2 at the line to put the Bills up by one with 2:45 left in the game. Bartley made a huge defensive play, stepping in front of St. Joe’s Aaron Brown and got the charge called. The Billikens failed to capitalize on the opportunity, and on St. Joseph’s next possession, a foul committed by freshman forward Milik Yarbrough allowed  another tie with a score of 55-55. The Billikens slowly ran out the clock, and passed the ball of to Bartley, who made the basket that put the Bills up 57-55 with 30.2 seconds left.  The Hawks flew up the court for a quick score, tying the game at 57 with seconds left in the game. Yacoubou broke up the court, but  committed a charge with 1.3 seconds left, pushing the game into overtime.

SLU hit first in overtime when Yacoubou went 1-2 at the line and made the score 58-57, but a foul on Bartley gave the Hawks an opportunity to once again tie it up.  Roby and Yacoubou fouled on consecutive plays and went 1-2 at the line to put the Billikens up by a basket with 2:19 left in overtime. Agbeko made an astounding fake on the defender before banking the shot off the backboard to increase the SLU lead to 62-58.  A free-throw by the Hawks dropped the lead to three, but Roby hit a quick layup to give SLU a cushion.  St. Joseph’s hit a jumper, but then made the mistake of kicking the ball with 13 seconds left on the clock, resulting in the shot clock being turned off for the rest of the game. Crawford fouled again on the inbounding play and perfected his shots at the line for a 66-61. Yarbrough placed the icing on the cake with a last second dunk, clinching the 68-61 victory, snapping the Billikens four game losing streak. Yacoubou’s stellar performance led the Billiken offense, with 20 points and 6 rebounds.  The Billikens play Fordham on Saturday, Feb. 7 in Bronx, New York.

The Billikens return home on Tuesday, Feb. 10 to take on rival Dayton. Students in attendance will recieve free replica jerseys, emblazoned with the number six and a 100th year anniversary patch. In addition, a student pre-game party, complete with Pappy’s catering, will take place in the Chaifetz Pavillion at 7 p.m.

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Saint Joe’s gets an ‘Ash’-kicking