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Freshman guard Jordan Goodwin drives up the court as the Billikens face off against Detroit Mercy.

Freshman guard Jordan Goodwin drives up the court as the Billikens face off against Detroit Mercy.

Saint Louis Athletics

Saint Louis Athletics

Freshman guard Jordan Goodwin drives up the court as the Billikens face off against Detroit Mercy.

Bobby Stilwell, Sports Editor

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SLU Men’s Basketball saw plenty of action before and after Thanksgiving, finishing up competition in the 2K Classic at both Madison Square Garden and back home at Chaifetz Arena before continuing non-conference play against Western Michigan Fresh off victories against Seattle and Rockhurst, SLU traveled out to Madison Square Garden for the championship round of the 2K Classic. SLU got started against Virginia Tech on Thursday, Nov. 16, in a 77- 71 victory.

SLU took the lead midway through the first half off an 11-0 run, capped by a trey from freshman guard Jordan Goodwin and a bucket from sophomore forward Jalen Johnson. SLU led 36-29 at the half. Virginia Tech pulled within four late into the game, but SLU went 11-14 from the charity stripe in the final minute to clinch the victory. Redshirt junior forward Javon Bess led the team with 22 points and nine rebounds, with Goodwin clinching a double-double (19 points, 10 rebounds).

The next day, Friday, Nov. 17, SLU played Providence for the 2K Classic Championship, but came up short in the 90-63 loss. The game was a back-and-forth battle in the early minutes, with SLU going up by four, five minutes into the game. With 12:17 to play, redshirt senior Aaron Hines hit a jumper to put SLU up 12-11. However, Providence answered with a trey and grabbed the lead for good. Providence went on a 13-2 run to take a 20-point lead at the half before expanding it out to 27-points at the end of the game. Bess again led with 16 points, shooting 8-9 at the charity stripe. Freshman forward Hasahn French pulled down 11 rebounds, scoring eight points.

SLU got some much-needed time off before hosting Detroit Mercy in the final game of the 2K Classic on Wednesday, Nov. 22. SLU tied everything up at 70-all in the closing minute of play, but Detroit Mercy hit a jumper at the last second in the 72-70 loss. SLU got on top early 8-0 with a pair of early Johnson treys before Detroit Mercy bounced back within two. SLU got back up by eight with another Johnson trey with 3:40 left in the first half, but Detroit Mercy mounted another rally to close within two at the half.

With nine ties and seven lead changes in the second half, the teams battled for the lead. SLU went up by five, but couldn’t mount a rally in the second half. French posted his first career double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Johnson went 8-15 from the field on the way to a career-high 24 points on the night.

After Thanksgiving break, SLU came back to Chaifetz to host Western Michigan on Tuesday, Nov. 28. SLU came up short in the 65-51 loss.

The first half was a back-and-forth for both teams, with Western Michigan taking
a 23-22 lead to the half. Western Michigan went on a 19-3 run in the second half to build a 57-39 lead with 4:32 left in the second half, before SLU rallied with a 10-0 spurt to close the lead to 59- 51 with 1:39 left. Western Michigan buried a trey on their next possession, jumping out to a double-digit lead again. Bess led SLU with 14 points, shooting a perfect 6-6 on free throws. Goodwin chipped in 13 points with 7 rebounds. Johnson chipped in 10 points.

SLU heads to Indianapolis on Saturday, Dec. 1, for one of just four road games in nonconference play. Tip-off is set for 1 p.m. against Butler.

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