Coaching changes announced for men’s basketball after season ending second-round loss to GW

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Coaching changes announced for men’s basketball after season ending second-round loss to GW

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The men’s basketball team traveled to Pennsylvania to play La Salle on March 2. SLU and La Salle traded baskets in the opening minutes of the first half. The Bills led 7-5 with 15:36 left in the half, but La Salle continued to keep it a one-bucket game. La Salle finally pulled ahead of the Billikens 18-16 with just over seven minutes left before the break. Once this lead was established, La Salle continued to capitalize on their advantage, and the half ended with La Salle leading 31-25.

The second half continued in the same manner as the end of the first. La Salle gained a quick double-digit lead and the Billikens could not find the momentum needed to launch a comeback. With just over seven minutes left to play, the La Salle had a commanding 60-44 lead. SLU’s offense showed some life in the final minutes of the game. Sophomore guard Davell Roby banged in a huge three for the Billikens that cut their deficit to six with just under two minutes left on the clock. Roby hit another trey for SLU that brought them within five, 73-68, with 50 seconds left in the game, but the Bills could not recover in time and fell to La Salle 76-68.

Roby lead the team with 16 points, 14 coming in the second half. He finished 3-of-5 from the field and hit two of his attempted three shots from behind the three-point line. He also shot a perfect 8-for-8 from the free throw line. Junior forward Reggie Agbeko pulled down a career-high 13 rebounds.

The Billikens returned home on March 5 to play St. Bonaventure for senior night. At the first media timeout, the Bonnies led the Bills 12-8. SLU kept their deficit in single digits and eventually took a 13-12 lead after a layup from Roby with 12:32 left in the half. St. Bonaventure responded with an 11-0 run that would give them an eight-point lead at the break.

Roby, who has been on fire from behind the arch, hit another monstrous three for the Billikens that pulled them within four with just over 11 minutes to play. The Bonnies responded and regained a ten-point lead, but the Bills put together a 6-0 run that cut the deficit to four with 7:46 remaining. The Bills came within three points of a tie before the Bonnies went on a 5-0 run to seal a 76-67 victory.

Agbeko scored a career-high 20 points, as well as recorded a career-high 16 rebounds, which is the most by a Billiken since Dwayne Evans pulled down 17 rebounds in 2013. The Bills ended their regular season with an Atlantic 10 Conference record of 5-13, and overall record of 10-20.

The Billikens entered post-season play as the 13th seed for the Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament. Their first matchup was against George Mason on March 9. The Bills took an early 4-2 lead at the first media timeout. George Mason kept the already low scoring game close. The Bills lead by a single point, 19-20, with six minutes left in the first half. SLU extended their lead to three with 2:49 left, but sophomore guard Marcus Bartley sank a three that gave the Billikens a six-point advantage. Bartley hit another three late in the first half, so the Bills entered the locker room with a 32-23 lead.

Senior guard Ash Yacoubou hit back-to-back baskets, which included a three, and put the Bills up by a score of 41-35 with 16:14 left to play. George Mason retaliated and tied the game, but Roby put the Bills up by a basket with under 12 minutes remaining. Every time the Billiken offense gave themselves some breathing room, George Mason would chip away at their deficit. SLU had a 68-64 lead with 3:20 left to play, but that was the closest George Mason would get to taking the lead before Bartley drilled his seventh three pointer to put the Bills up 75-66 with 1:41 left on the clock. Although George Mason cut the Billiken lead to two with 9.9 seconds remaining, sharp shooting by the Billikens from behind the free throw line resulted in an 83-78 victory for the Billikens.

Bartley led the offense with 24 points, Roby recorded 18 and Yacoubou chipped in 16 points. Agbeko led the team in rebounds with seven.

The Bills advanced to the next round of the tournament to play George Washington on March 10. At the first media timeout, the Bills found themselves down by a score of 17-11. The Billikens cut the lead to three with eight minutes in the first half, but GW extended their lead to 31-22 with 4:36 left before halftime. Sophomore forward Milik Yarbrough hit a three late in the half, which resulted in a six-point deficit for the Billikens at the break.

SLU put together a run to start the second and pulled within three of GW with 15:54 left. Although Bartley hit a trey to keep the game close, GW responded with back-to-back triples and forced SLU to call a timeout in order to regroup with 12:59 left to play. The Colonials put together a 10-0 spurt to give GW a 50-37 lead. The Bills refused to go down quietly and kept the deficit in single digits, but SLU could not stop GW on defense. SLU ultimately fell 73-65. Freshman guard Jermaine Bishop led the offense with 15 points. Agbeko scored 12 points and recorded eight rebounds.

Soon after the loss, SLU announced that Jim Crews would not be the head coach of the team for the 2016-17 season. A nationwide search for the next leader of the Billikens will begin immediately as the Billikens hope to have more success next season.