After winning 28 games and the Atlantic 10 regular season and tournament titles a season ago, No. 13 Saint Louis had two personnel losses to account for. Gone were two of their three double-digit scorers in Cody Ellis and Kwamain Mitchell, and those certainly aren’t departures to be glossed over. However the Billikens did return four of their top six scorers, led by forward Dwayne Evans Jr., and for that reason Jim Crews’ team was expected to once again be right in the middle of the Atlantic 10 title race.
Evans (as he did last season) is leading Saint Louis in scoring, but if there’s a key play to be made late the ball will most likely be in the hands of fellow senior Jordair Jett. And against La Salle that was the case with Jett using a flat ball screen at the top of the key to get to the basket, finishing with four seconds remaining to give the Billikens the 65-63 win. Saint Louis has now win 16 straight games, establishing a new school record.
Jett finished the game with a season-high 25 points to go along with four assists, connecting on nine of his 14 shots from the field and shooting 7-for-9 from the foul line. And he epitomizes this Saint Louis team: not much flash, but certainly not lacking for results either. Saint Louis shot just 2-for-13 from beyond the arc against La Salle but they were able to make plays inside, scoring 42 of their 65 points in the paint.
La Salle was slightly better in this category, scoring 44 points in the paint with Jerrell Wright (21 points, eight rebounds) and Steve Zack (15 points, 13 rebounds) both being productive interior options, and the Explorers remained in the game throughout for that very reason. But guards Tyreek Duren (14 points) and Tyrone Garland (six points) combined to shoot just 7-for 21 from the field, with Saint Louis’ perimeter defense forcing challenged looks for much of the afternoon. And in the end, it was Jett who proved to be the difference-maker.
Saint Louis is off to the best start in school history, and their win streak is also a program best with SLU’s last defeat coming against No. 4 Wichita State back in December. With their ability to defend Saint Louis has the potential to be a tough out come March, and when the chips are down they’ve got a player in Jett makes all the right decisions.
Colorado is playing Air Force tonight.
For some reason or another, Colorado’s Tory Miller got mad at Air Force’s Hayden Graham.
So he bit him.
At least he didn’t pretend that he teeth hurt after getting bit.
Miller, obviously, was ejected. Colorado ended up winning the game.
This will be updated throughout the night.
UNLV 72, No. 13 Indiana 69: The Runnin’ Rebels held off the Hoosiers in Maui, winning the fifth place game at the Maui Jim Maui Invitational and going 2-1 in the event. Patrick McCaw led the way for UNLV with 20 points, six assists and five steals, and Ben Carter’s block of a Nick Zeisloft three-pointer in the final seconds preserved the victory. Zeisloft scored 17 points and James Blackmon Jr. 13 for the Hoosiers, who went 1-2 in Maui and looked nothing like the Big Ten contender many expected them to be.
No. 14 Gonzaga 80, Washington 64: The Bulldog front court once again led the way, with Kyle Wiltjer scoring 24 points and grabbing 11 rebounds in a 16-point victory. Domas Sabonis added 17 points and nine rebounds, and Przemek Karnowski accounted for 12 points and six rebounds.
Chris Boucher, Oregon: Boucher set a school record for blocks in a game with nine while also scoring 17 points and grabbing nine rebounds in the Ducks’ win over Arkansas State.
Christen Cunningham, Samford: Cunningham shot 8-for-10 from three, scoring 26 points in the Bulldogs’ 75-58 win over Idaho.
Darien Nelson-Henry, Penn: In a game that included the nation’s leading scorer in La Salle’s Jordan Price, Nelson-Henry scored 31 points and grabbed 14 boards in the Quakers’ 80-64 win over the Explorers.
Anthony Lindauer, High Point: Lindauer went scoreless in the Panthers’ 49-46 loss at Georgia, missing all ten of his field goal attempts.
Amar Stukes, La Salle: Stukes shot 1-for-12 from the field in the Explorers’ Big Five loss to Penn, scoring two points.
THE REST OF THE TOP 25
- No. 2 Maryland put together its most complete effort of the season to date in the title game of the Cancun Challenge, beating Rhode Island 86-63. Melo Trimble and Rasheed Sulaimon scored 17 apiece and Robert Carter Jr. added 15 for the Terrapins, who had five players score in double figures.
- No. 6 Duke pulled away from preseason Ivy League favorite Yale in the second half winning by 19 in Durham. Matt Jones led four Blue Devils in double figures with 17 points.
- No. 12 Virginia also pulled away in the second half of its game, outscoring Lehigh 45-28 over the final 20 minutes in their 80-54 win in Charlottesville. Malcolm Brogdon led the way with a game-high 23 points.
- No. 21 Oregon moved to 5-0 with a 91-68 win over Arkansas State. Chris Boucher (17 points, nine rebounds, nine blocks) nearly tallied a triple-double, and Dwayne Benjamin scored 25 off the bench for the Ducks.
- No. 25 Texas A&M beat Texas 84-73 at the Battle 4 Atlantis, winning the first meeting between the two programs since the Aggies moved from the Big 12 to the SEC. Danuel House scored 19 points and grabbed seven rebounds and Anthony Collins added 15, five and six assists. They’ll play Gonzaga in Thursday’s semifinals.
- Michael Gbinije scored 26 points, Trevor Cooney added 19 and freshman Tyler Lydon racked up 18, eight rebounds and six blocks at Syracuse took care of Charlotte, 83-70, at the Battle 4 Atlantis.
- Florida rebounded from its loss to Purdue on Sunday with an 86-62 win over Vermont. Dorian Finney-Smith accounted for 20 points, six rebounds, six assists and three steals.
- Wake Forest beat UCLA 80-77 to earn a third-place finish at the Maui Jim Maui Invitational. Devin Thomas led the Demon Deacons with 21 points and nine rebounds, with Tony Parker pacing the Bruins with 18 points and 15 rebounds.