Men’s basketball: Louisville hands Bills first loss

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Men’s basketball: Louisville hands Bills first loss

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The Saint Louis University men’s basketball team returned to Chaifetz on Nov. 21 to play St. Francis Brooklyn. Sophomore center Austin Gillmann easily won the tip, and SLU got on the board first thanks to the athleticism of senior guard Ash Yacoubou in the paint. The Bills were up 4-0 until St. Francis Brooklyn put together a strong offensive run and took the lead, 10-5. 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 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 regulation. The Terriers clawed their way back into the game making the score 46-43 with 10:08 left to play. Freshman guard Miles Reynolds extended the Bills lead to nine with sharp shooting from the free throw line with just under six minutes left to play. The terriers refused to back down and came within four 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. Yarbrough gave the Bills their largest lead of the game, 73-58, with 1:11 left on the clock. SLU defeated St. Francis Brooklyn, 76-60.

The Bills strived to stay undefeated when they played North Florida at home on Nov. 24. North Florida fell into a rhythm behind the three point line, nailing three treys within the first 10 minutes to take a 9-14 lead. The Billikens put together a solid 8-0 run that was started when Yacoubou drained a three. The Billikens regained a three point lead. The Bills later put together a 9-0 offensive spurt making the score 31-24. North Florida fought to cut the deficit a single point, 33-32, by halftime.

The Ospreys carried their offensive momentum into the second half scoring the first four points. The next few minutes saw multiple lead changes that lead to a 10-0 run by the Billikens that began with a three from sophomore guard Davell Roby. SLU sealed the victory with a 12-0 run that put their lead into double digits thanks to two three-pointers from freshman guard Marcus Bartley. The Billikens topped the Ospreys with a final score of 70-57. Yacoubou led the Billiken offense with 20 points, shooting 8-of-13 from the field and hitting a career-high four 3-pointers. Yacoubou also grabbed ten rebounds to record his second double-double this season. Junior forward Reggie Agbeko had 12 points and nine rebounds for the night. Reynolds also had a notable game, scoring in double figures – 10 — for the fourth game in a row.

The Billikens traveled to New York over Thanksgiving break to play the University of Louisville on Nov. 28. The Billikens and Cardinals were evenly matched for the first few minutes of the game. The Billikens gained an 11-8 advantage until Louisville hit a three to tie the game with 12 minutes left in the first. SLU responded with a 5-0 run to take a 16-11 lead. Louisville clawed their way back into the game and pulled within one point, 20-19, with 6:30 left in the first. Expert shooting from behind the line and quick transitions allowed the Cardinals to take a 23-20 lead. Reynolds drained a three to tie the score at 23.  Louisville took the lead, but SLU refused to go down and fought to cut the deficit to three points with 27.9 seconds left in the first half. The Bills were unable to take advantage of the final possession of the half and entered the locker room down 30-27.

Reynolds got the Billiken offense going early in the second half, hitting a jumper to bring the Billikens within one, 30-29. After exchanging blows, the Bills regained a 34-33 lead with 16 minutes left in the game before the Cardinals successfully completed a three-point play from the three-point line.

Once again, the Cardinals offense dominated and pulled away from the Billikens. Louisville took a dominating 53-40 lead with 9:44 left in the game. The Cardinals continued their double digit lead throughout the rest of the game. Louisville gained their largest lead of the game off of a three that increased the deficit to 16, 72-56. The game ended with a 77-57 loss for the Billikens, who now drop to 4-1.

The Bills welcomed Morehead State to Chaefitz on Dec. 2. Morehead State jumped to an early 7-3 lead that the Eagles extended to 15-5 with 11:48 left in the first half. The Billikens found themselves down 38-15 at halftime and looked to regroup before the second half.

SLU continued to trail 47-26 with 10:50 remaining in the game. The Bills clawed their way back into the game, cutting the scored from 26 to 17. Yacoubou drained a three to cut the deficit to 12, 49-37. Although the Billikens continued to chip away at Morehead State’s lead, the Bills ultimately fell to Morehead State, 60-46.

Yacoubou led the SLU offense with 15 points followed by Crawford with 13. Gillmann and Agbeko both recorded four rebounds. The Billikens continue their home game schedule and hope to rebound from back-to-back losses on Dec. 5 against Wichita State.

The Morehead State game was the first of six home games for the Billikens. SLU will not begin their A-10 schedule until after winter break, traveling to play  Rhode Island on Jan. 2.