Billkens, 3-0, top St. Francis Brooklyn 76-60

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The Saint Louis University men’s basketball team returned to Chaifetz Arena on Nov. 21, to play St. Francis Brooklyn. After a back-and-forth first half, the Billikens came out on top, 76-60. Sophomore center Austin Gillmann easily won the tip, and SLU got on the board first with the athleticism of senior guard Ash Yacoubou in the paint. The Bills were up 4-0 before St. Francis Brooklyn put together a strong offensive run and took a 10 -5 lead. The Billikens and Terriers exchanged blows for the rest of the first half, with neither taking a dominating lead. It looked as if SLU would enter the locker room with a one-point deficit until freshman guard Jermaine Bishop drilled a three, his first career points, with time running out, giving the Bills a 32-30 lead.

The Billikens gave themselves some breathing room early in the second half, taking a 39-34 lead with 15:45 left in the game. The Terriers clawed their way back into the game, making the score 46-43 with 10:08 left to play, and had just a one-point lead, 50-49, with roughly eight minutes remaining. St. Francis Brooklyn kept it close, but freshman guard Miles Reynolds extended the Bills lead to nine with sharp shooting from the free throw line with just under six minutes to play. The Terriers refused to back down and came within four points of the Billikens before powerhouse Reynolds finished a three-point play at the line to give the Bills a 61-54 lead with 4:30 left in the game. The Bills dominated the rest of the game, and Yarbrough gave the Bills a 15-point lead, their largest lead up to that point, 73-58, with 1:11 left on the clock. SLU held on during last minute, marching to a 76-60 win. Sophomore Milik Yarbrough led all scorers with 17 points.

Head coach Jim Crews commented on the team’s lack of unity as a reason for the Billikens’ struggles in the first half. “I thought that we were independent contractors in the first 25 minutes. We were doing things very individually. Once we started doing things as a unit, we got things going,” Crews said. “We needed to initiate our offense earlier.”

Check out the full story in the December 3 issue of the UNews.