Men’s basketball squad edged in OT after leading Dayton at home


Ryan Quinn

It was Greek night at Chaifetz arena on Feb. 20 as the men’s basketball team hosted Fordham. Although Fordham had a 6-5 lead at the first media timeout, the Billikens gained a 12-11 lead with 11:42 left in the first. Neither team could find a foothold as there were 13 lead changes in the first half. Fordham regained a 17-16 lead with just over seven minutes before the break. A beautiful dunk by junior guard Mike Crawford put the Billikens back on top 18-17. Another dunk from freshman center Matt Neufeld inspired an 8-0 Billiken spurt with 5:07 left in the first half, which gave the Billikens a lead that they would defend the rest of the game. Fordham responded by scoring the last five points of the first half, cutting the deficit to a field goal, 30-28.

The Billikens carried their momentum into the second half, extending their lead to 42-30 with 15:57 left in the game. Fordham refused to go down quietly and put together a 8-3 run to cut the Billiken lead to seven. Fordham kept the game in single digits.

With 7:41 remaining, the score was 52-43. Although a Crawford three gave SLU its largest lead of the night, 14, Fordham continued to penetrate the Billiken defense and brought themselves within six with three minutes left to make something happen. Another trey from Crawford put the game away for the Billikens, with a final score of 76-68.

Crawford had an outstanding game, leading the offense with 21 points. He shot a perfect six-for-six from the field and drained all three of his attempts from behind the arc. He also shot six-of-seven from the free throw line and led the Billikens in boards, recording six for the night. Crawford was a defensive animal, posting a career-high four steals. Junior guard Aaron Hines helped the offense with a career-high eight assists. Freshman guard Jermaine Bishop contributed 17 points in the victory after shooting five-of-ten from the field and hitting three treys.

The Billikens hosted Dayton on Feb. 23 for Senior Night. Yacoubou got the Billikens on the board early with back-to-back baskets that gave the Bills a 5-0 lead. SLU scored on the next possession as well and forced the flyers to call a timeout with 17:23 left in the first.

Both teams suffered from a scoring drought, which kept the score low, 8-2, with 11:36 left before the break. Dayton put together a 9-0 run late in the half, but SLU clung to a 13-12 lead. The Bills gave themselves some breathing room with a three-point lead that turned into a five-point lead, 19-14, as both teams headed into the locker room.

Dayton kept the deficit in single digits — sophomore forward Milik Yarbrough drained back-to-back threes to give SLU the seven point advantage with 12:35 left in regulation. Yarbrough forced the Flyers to take a timeout after weaving through the lane for a layup to send the Billikens up 33-24. The Billikens continued to push the ball and sharp shooting from behind the arc from Yarbrough put the Billikens on top 42-33 with 7:22 left on the clock. Dayton cut away at the Billiken lead and tied the game at 46 with under a minute to play. Neither team could take advantage of their possession and the game continued into overtime. Unfortunately, Dayton hit a three in overtime that led to the 52-49 demise of the Billikens.

Yarbrough led the team with 16 points and hit a career-high three three-pointers. Yacoubou contributed 14 points in the overtime loss and Crawford finished with a career-high ten rebounds. SLU falls to 5-10 in the league and 10-17 overall.  The Bills travel to Philadelphia to play Saint Joseph’s on Feb. 28. and to face La Salle March 2.

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