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Saint Louis University Athletics

Saint Louis University Athletics

Bobby Stilwell, Sports Editor

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The Billikens continue to prove themselves in the A-10, posting wins over Dayton and Fordham and a road win at St. Joseph’s before falling to St. Bonaventure.

A-10 rival Dayton came to Chaifetz Arena on Saturday, Jan. 27. The 75-65 win was the first for SLU since January of 2014.

Dayton took an early lead and held it for the bulk of the first half, but the Billikens posted a 10-0 run to take a 28-22 lead with 4:34 left in the first half. SLU held this six-point margin at the half, heading to the locker room with a 36-30 lead.

Dayton tied it up twice in the second half, but SLU took advantage of some Dayton mistakes late in the second half, using an 11-0 run to jump out to a 65-53 lead at the 4:50 mark. Dayton cut the margin back to single digits, but SLU answered back with some free throws and cruised to victory over the Flyers.

Post-game, head coach Travis Ford took the microphone and thanked the season-high 8,500 fans for their continued support of the team. With a lot of emotion, Ford proclaimed, “These are good young men…we’re doing it for the city of St. Louis.”

Ford wanted to address the crowd for no other reason but to thank them. “At 3 o’clock on a Saturday afternoon you could be lots of places… you chose to support this team, it means a lot. We want to do well for the city [of St. Louis].”

Redshirt junior guard Javon Bess, who scored a team-high 20 points, emphasized the team effort on and off the court. “Every day we do it for each other…we came together, we knew we had to get this win.”

Senior guard Davell Roby said the loss to VCU was fatigue, and that the team has to “push through the fatigue and win the game.”

SLU committed just five turnovers, a season low. In addition to his 20 points, Bess shot 3-4 from the charity stripe. Sophomore forward Jalen Johnson came off the bench, chipping in 16 points and shooting 3-5 from the arc. Roby chipped in 14 points, shooting 8-11 from the charity stripe.

SLU hit the road, heading to Philadelphia for a battle with A-10 foe St. Joseph’s. It was a nail-biter, but the Billikens prevailed 60-59 over the Hawks.

SLU built a lead as large as 13 points in the first half, but the Hawks rallied to tie the game in the final minute of the half.

It was a back-and-forth battle in the second half. With the score tied 59-59 and 13 seconds left, Roby was fouled and went to the charity stripe for two shots. Roby missed the first, swooshed the second, and the Hawks were unable to get a shot off after the inbound.

SLU’s success continued on Saturday, Feb. 3, with Fordham coming to town. While the odds were in SLU’s favor, the Rams took an early lead. However, the Billikens rallied in the first half and buckled down at the backboard in the second half, easily cruising to the 73-50 win.

It was a back-and-forth; trading buckets display for the first 15 minutes of the first half. But at the 4:40 mark, SLU held Fordham scoreless for the remainder of the half, embarking on a 15-0 run at the same time, eventually heading to the half with a season-high 37-18 lead.

The second half saw the Billikens out-rebound the Rams 29-11 on the way to the win, with a 7-0 spurt stopping a Rams rally midway through the half.

With French’s performance on the court, he seems to have had no issues transitioning to college life, and even he agreed. According to him, he “went to prep school [and] had good habits, so that carried over [to college].”

The team has worked more closely together over the last few games, and Bess credited this to everybody “play[ing] together and rely[ing] on each other.”

Ford’s beginning to look at the A-10 standings a bit, and he summed up the remaining games by saying “Every game presents a new opportunity, but every game presents a different challenge, too.”

With the win over Fordham, SLU sat half a game out of third place in the A-10 heading into a road battle at St. Bonaventure. The Billikens traveled to Olean, New York on Wednesday, Feb. 7. for a 6 p.m. tip.

It was a slow start for SLU, who committed nine turnovers in the first half. However, a cold first half for St. Bonaventure kept SLU in the game, with the Billikens trailing 36-28 at the half.

A Johnson trey and dunk from redshirt junior D.J. Foreman brought SLU back within four points at the 15:57 mark of the second half. This wouldn’t last, as the Bonnies hit three treys to jump ahead by 15 at the 8:40 mark. SLU couldn’t mount a rally to overcome this deficit, falling 79-56.

La Salle comes to town on Saturday, Feb. 10. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. at Chaifetz Arena.

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