Men rally late for a 61-60 comeback against St. Joe’s

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Men rally late for a 61-60 comeback against St. Joe’s

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SLU Men’s Basketball hosted the Saint Joseph’s Hawks on Saturday, Feb. 25 for an afternoon A-10 matchup. SLU started off strong, but had to mount a comeback for the 61-60 win.

SLU started their usual five: junior guard Davell Roby, freshman forward Jalen Johnson, junior guard Aaron Hines, senior guard Mike Crawford and freshman forward Elliott Welmer.

A Johnson trey at 18:57 opened scoring for the Billikens. SLU went on an early 10-1 run to take a 9-point lead with 14:35 in the first half.

The Hawks began staging a comeback, but a Roby trey and jumpers from senior forward Reggie Agbeko and Crawford helped keep SLU up by 12 with 8:16 left in the first.

SLU went cold after this, missing most of their shots and allowing the Hawks to take a 25-22 lead at the half.

SLU got the ball to start the second half, and got back to work early, tying up the game at 26-26 with 18:25 to play. A Johnson jumper put the Bills back on top, 28-26, with 17:50 to play.

SLU once again went cold, and the Hawks again took advantage, opening a 13-point lead, 50-37, with 9:48 to play.

However, SLU wouldn’t take this, and went on a 12-0 run to tie the game at 52-52 with 5:28 to play.

The Hawks staged a 5-0 run to get back on top 58-53, but SLU came back off treys from Roby and Crawford, followed by a Hines layup for a 9-2 run in the final two minutes of play.

Despite the pull of Mardi Gras, there was a large turnout, and the atmosphere in the arena was electric. Johnson felt it, as he not only loves the fans, but “feed[s] off their energy.” Agbeko added that Head Coach Travis Ford “used the fans watching to motivate [the team during halftime.]”

Ford was very complimentary of the team’s performance in the second half. “We figured out how to rely on each other,” Ford said. “[Freshman forward] Zeke [Moore] really gave us a 3-4-minute stand that changed the game for us.”

As a team, Ford feels the Billikens are “showing a lot of heart,” and says that he is “proud of [the team] on getting 10 wins.”

Like Johnson, Ford said he “really appreciate[d] the crowd…There [was] a lot going on in the city, but to come out and support the Billikens…It means a lot.”

SLU hosted LaSalle for senior night and the final home game of the season on Wednesday, March 1.

The senior night victory was capped by a dunk from Crawford and a 3-pointer from Agbeko.

SLU got to work early, with a Roby trey opening scoring. Both teams battled back and forth, with SLU taking a 5-2 lead with 15:59 to play in the first.

Coming out of the first media timeout, LaSalle went on a 9-0 run to take a six-point lead. SLU countered with a 10-2 to run to get back on top 15-13 with 14:41 left.

LaSalle tried to rally back, but a 6-0 SLU run gave SLU a seven-point advantage, 33-26, with 1:44 to play in the first.

LaSalle hit a pair of free throws in the closing seconds, but Roby hit a trey from NBA range at the buzzer to send SLU to the half with a 36-28 lead. SLU led by as much as 19 during the game.

During the senior night ceremony, Head Coach Ford thanked the fans for their support, and issued them a challenge for next year: “We’re all in this together. We need your support. We need to pack this arena every single night.”

Leading the scoring for the Billikens was Roby with 23 points and eight rebounds. Hines chipped in 12 points and eight rebounds. Agbeko scored 10, including the 3-pointer, and shot 100 percent from the free-throw line.