Men end four-game losing streak

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Going up strong: Sophmore forward Reggie Agbeko drives to the basket against a La Salle defender. Agbeko added four points and grabbed three boards in the 68-64 overtime victory. Michael DiMaria / Staff Photographer

The men’s basketball team played La Salle in one of its last home games of the regular season, on Sunday, Feb. 22. SLU gained an early 4-2 lead in the first, with baskets from both redshirt junior guard Ash Yacoubou and freshman guard Miles Reynolds. This was the only lead in the first half for the men’s team, as La Salle put together an 18-5 run that gave it a 20-9 lead. The Billikens responded with an 8-2 run of their own and pulled within 5 points of La Salle, which had a 25-19 lead going into the half.

    SLU continued to make up ground in the second, coming within one basket of the Explorers four different times. Freshman guard Marcus Bartley hit a 3-pointer that cut the deficit even further, and the Billikens found themselves down by only one point, 49-48. La Salle stretched the lead to 53-48, but freshman guard Davell Roby buried a trey to make it 53-51. Unfortunately, free-throw precision by the Explorers once again gave them a five-point lead.

Baseline: Freshman forward Miles Reynolds scored six in the win that snapped the losing streak. Michael DiMaria / Staff Photographer

    After a 7-2 run and quick turnover, the Billikens tied the game at 56. Yacoubou took advantage of another La Salle mistake to give SLU its first lead since early in the first, but he was unable to convert the three-point play at the foul line. La Salle was fouled on the opposite side of the court and hit both free throws to tie the game at 58. Although SLU had the opportunity to secure the win, the shot was off the mark and the game proceeded into overtime.

    SLU dominated early in overtime due to Roby’s shooting performance and had gained a 63-58 lead before going cold, which allowed La Salle to pull within one point. Roby went 1-of-1 at the free-throw line to put the Bills up by a basket. SLU took possession on the next drive after a La Salle 3-pointer was trapped between the rim and the backboard.

Having no other choice, the Explorers fouled sophomore guard Mike Crawford, sending him to the line for two shots. Crawford converted on both attempts, but a mistake foul by the Billikens led to La Salle hitting two from the line with 5.8 seconds left in the game. Crawford was fouled on the inbound pass and once again came up big for the Billikens at the line. SLU won the game 68-64 and in turn snapped a four-game losing streak.

Roby and Crawford combined for 26 points in the second half and played crucial roles in the victory. Roby also tied his career-high in scoring with 16 points.

The men’s team then traveled to Pittsburgh to play Duquesne on Wednesday, Feb. 25. SLU was down 19-6 with 13:13 left in the first before going on a 27-14 run to tie the game at 33 at the 2:44 mark. The Dukes increased their lead to seven, ending the half with a score of 40-33. Duquesne opened the second half with 15-5 run over eight minutes. The Billikens would only come within eight points of the Dukes, with 5:58 left in the game. Duquesne pulled away from the Billikens after that and SLU fell 79-66, even though the team hit five of its last six shots.

The Billikens dominated Duquesne in shooting percentage from the field, 61 percent to 38 percent. Freshman forward Milik Yarbrough was the leading scorer with 20 points, and freshman guard Marcus Bartley contributed 16 points and five rebounds. Sophomore Reggie Agbeko dominated the boards with seven rebounds, and freshman center Austin Gillmann had four assists.

The Billikens return home Saturday night at 6 p.m., when they host George Mason at Chaifetz.

At the game, SLU Law Clinic will hosting a T-shirt exchange. Fans who donate a piece of clothing from another university before the game will recieve a free Billikens T-shirt, and the clothing will be distributed to the St. Louis-area homeless  community and homeless veterans. In addition, participants will be entered into a drawing to shoot the Royal Banks Shot for Cash to win 500 dollars.