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Men drop back-and-forth contest at rival Flyers

Newbie%3A+Freshman+guard+Marcus+Bartley%2C+below%2C+has+worked+his+way+into+the+starting+five.+Ryan+Quinn+%2F+Photo+Editor
Newbie: Freshman guard Marcus Bartley, below, has worked his way into the starting five. Ryan Quinn / Photo Editor

Newbie: Freshman guard Marcus Bartley, below, has worked his way into the starting five. Ryan Quinn / Photo Editor

Newbie: Freshman guard Marcus Bartley, below, has worked his way into the starting five. Ryan Quinn / Photo Editor

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In the first game of what the UNews Sports Section has unofficially dubbed as “Atlantic 10 rivalry week,” the men’s basketball team came up short against its Ohio rivals, the Dayton Flyers. The Billikens found themselves playing catch-up, so to speak, for most of the evening, losing by a final score of 61-45 in Dayton, Ohio, on Jan. 17.

The Flyers immediately put SLU in the hole 9-0 to start the game. SLU spent the first half edging its way back in, and the score at halftime was a five-point margin, 27-22 Flyers.

SLU put up a fight straight out of the locker room when freshman forward Milik Yarbrough scored and freshman guard Davell Roby sank a 3-pointer, tying the game at 27.

Shortly after, however, Dayton went on a 10-0 run, making the score 42-31, opening up the game for the Flyers and giving them their largest lead of the game at that point.

However, SLU fought back with a 6-1 run, making the score 43-37 Dayton with 11 minutes left. Just as SLU did, Dayton had a scoring spurt, rattling off six straight points, putting them up 12. The lead remained double-digits the rest of the evening.

The loss evens SLU’s record at 9-9 on the season and 1-4 in the A-10. Dayton improved its record to 15-3 and 5-1 in the A-10. The win was the eighth straight for the Flyers, but they have since lost to A-10 newcomer Davison on Jan. 20.

Junior forward Ash Yacoubou led the Bills with 12 points on 5-10 shooting. Another notable statistic for Yacoubou, one of the five starters, was that he played 33 minutes in the outing, 10 minutes more than the next closest player.

Sophomore guard Mike Crawford contributed 10 points including a pair of 3-pointers in the first half. Freshman guard Marcus Bartley, also one of the five starters, contributed the next most points, adding six. Sophomore forward Reggie Agbeko and Yacoubou snagged the team-high rebounds with five each.

Newbie: Freshman guard Marcus Bartley, below, has worked his way into the starting five. Ryan Quinn / Photo Editor

Newbie: Freshman guard Marcus Bartley, below, has worked his way into the starting five. Ryan Quinn / Photo Editor

Yacoubou and Bartley were joined in the starting line-up by Yarbrough, Roby and senior forward John Manning. Crawford and Yarbrough played 23 minutes in the contest, while junior guard Austin McBroom played just eight. In his eight minutes, McBroom was held scoreless, but he did contribute two assists and a rebound.

Shooter: Junior guard Ash Yacoubou drives to the rim against Duquesne. Yacoubou had 12 points in their last game. Ryan Quinn / Photo Editor

Shooter: Junior guard Ash Yacoubou drives to the rim against Duquesne. Yacoubou had 12 points in their last game. Ryan Quinn / Photo Editor

SLU was bogged down by a poor shooting percentage in the first half, finishing just 29.2 percent from the floor on 7-27 shooting in the first 20 minutes. In the second half, the Bills went 10-22 in the second half for an improved 45.5 percent. Dayton’s second-half shooting performance also trumped their first, and it shot 52.6 percent from the field in the first half, and only 34.8 in the first.

Next up for the Billikens is rival VCU on Friday, Jan. 23. Last year, SLU first squared up against VCU a few weeks later into the season, on Feb. 15, 2014, at Chaifetz. Last year’s game, played in front of a crowd of over 10,600, had much higher stakes for the Bills, as a loss would have snapped the 16-game winning streak they were riding. The score was tied nine times and changed 12, but SLU came out on top in a narrow, last-minute victory, 64-62, and saw four players in double figures on the night.

At stake in this game for VCU is a blip on their so-far perfect 5-0 conference record. The Rams also have the opportunity to extend their 10-game winning streak. Nothing is directly at stake for SLU, but they need to win this game to improve in the A-10 and better their seed for the conference championship tournament at the end of the season.

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Men drop back-and-forth contest at rival Flyers