Bishop propels Billikens to victory in OT

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Bishop propels Billikens to victory in OT

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The Saint Louis University men’s basketball team continues to struggle this season.  The Bills played VCU on the Rams’ home court on Feb. 13 and fell 85-52. VCU jumped out to a quick start, taking an early 8-3 lead, which forced SLU to call a timeout less than two minutes into the game. Although junior forward Reggie Agbeko scored on back-to-back possessions to cut the deficit to seven, the Bills could not capitalize on the momentum.

The Billiken defense kept the score close in the first. The Bills forced three turnovers and the Rams experienced a four-minute scoring drought with 11:57 left in the half. Both teams continued to struggle. With 6:29 left in the first half, both teams combined to hit one of 11 attempted field goals, during a stretch. It looked as if the Billikens would keep the deficit to just over 10, when VCU went on a scoring rampage. The Rams’ late 16-2 run gave them a demanding 44-24 lead at the break.

The second half continued much like the end of the first, with VCU dominating on offense. With 11:52 remaining in the game, the score was 57-31 and the leading scorer for the Billikens was junior guard Aaron Hines, with eight points. SLU continued to fight, but the damage inflicted by VCU’s offense was irreparable.

SLU struggled from the field, shooting 35.1 percent from the floor. They also had difficulty maintaining possession; they recorded 21 turnovers, which VCU converted into 20 points.  The Bills’ offense was led by freshman guard Jermaine Bishop with 16 points. Agbeko led in rebounds with seven. This defeat marked the fifth straight loss for the Billikens.

The Billikens traveled to George Mason on Feb. 17. SLU took an early 11-4 lead at the first media timeout. The Bills extended their lead to 23-10 with 11:52 left in the first half. SLU continued to dominate the court and kept their lead in double digits. With just over three minutes left, the Billikens remained on top 35-18. George Mason clawed their way back into the game and cut the deficit down to 12 at halftime, with a score of 39-27. SLU’s success in the first half could have been a result of the team only turning the ball over four times.

SLU called a quick timeout early in second half to regroup, but still lead George Mason 59-46. Four Billikens were in the double digits for scoring with 9:39 left in the game. What was thought to be a short 7-0 run for George Mason quickly turned into the Patriots pulling within three with just under four minutes remaining. Bishop was able to put a stop to the rally with a basket.

With time dwingling, George Mason pulled ahead of the Billikens, 67-66. The Bills regained the lead shortly, only for the Patriots to quickly tie it up at 72 with 36 seconds to send the game into overtime.

Neither team was able to take advantage of their possession opportunities, and the game continued into overtime. Yacoubou quickly scored a layup. SLU continued to push the ball, but George Mason refused to go down without a fight and kept the game within three. George Mason tied the game once again at 77. Bishop hit a huge shot for the Billikens with time running out to help the Billikens to a 79-77 victory.

The Billikens (9-16 overall) will return home to play Fordham on Feb. 21.