Tag: Saint Louis

Jordan Gathers

Atlantic 10 Tournament: St. Bonaventure upsets Saint Louis with a three at the buzzer (VIDEO)


Charlon Kloof finished with 22 points and nine boards, but it was his sixth assist of the afternoon that was the biggest play of the season for St. Bonaventure.

On the final possession of a tie game, Kloof drew a double team and found teammate Jordan Gathers open at the top of the key. Gathers buried a three-pointer at the buzzer and the Bonnies picked up a win over No. 1 seed and Atlantic 10 regular season champion Saint Louis, 71-68.

It’s a great win for St. Bonaventure, who was spurred on a second half comeback by some hot-shooting from Matthew Wright, but the bigger story coming from this is the Billikens.

What in the world is going on with them?

RELATED: NBCSports.com’s latest bracketology

Saint Louis lost three in a row at the end of the regular season before seemingly bouncing back with a win at UMass in their last game before heading up to Brooklyn for the conference tournament, but they collapsed in the second half against the Bonnies. Saint Louis was up by as much as 13 in the first half before taking a 38-28 lead into the break, but the defense that carried the Billikens throughout the season was no where to be found in the final 20 minutes.

St. Bonaventure scored 43 points after the break. They were 6-for-9 from beyond the arc, including a pair of huge triples in the final minute, which is a number that is all-the-more impressive when you consider the fact that Saint Louis led the nation in defensive three-point percentage this season at 28.9%.

The Billikens are not a good offensive team. According to KenPom, they’re 176th nationally in adjusted offensive efficiency. They have to be elite defensively if they are going to win games, and, quite frankly, they haven’t been in the last three weeks. In five of their last seven games, Saint Louis has allowed more than a point-per-possession defensively, which is unacceptable for a team that is fifth nationally in adjusted defensive efficiency. You want proof? Saint Louis lost four of those five games, and in the fifth they were taken to overtime by A-10 bottom-feeder George Mason.

Those are a lot of numbers I’m throwing at you, I know.

To put it in layman’s terms, Saint Louis won a lot of games this season because they are as good as anyone on the defensive end of the floor. They have not played to that level on that end of late, and that’s why they are losing games.

As of this morning, Saint Louis was a No. 6 seed in Dave Ommen’s latest bracket. They’ll probably drop a seed line after this loss. I still think that, when they’re playing their best, the Billikens can win a couple games in the tournament and make the Sweet 16.

But they haven’t been playing their best in weeks.

It’s time to be concerned if you’re a Saint Louis fan.

Guard Marcus Bartley becomes Saint Louis’ third 2014 commitment

Atlantic 10 Basketball Tournament - Semifinals - St. Louis v Butler
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With Jordair Jett and Mike McCall Jr. entering their senior season the Saint Louis Billikens could use some additional depth on the perimeter. First head coach Jim Crews and his staff reeled in Memphis native Davell Roby, and on Thursday night it was reported by multiple outlets that Decatur, Ill. native Marcus Bartley has verbally committed to the Atlantic 10 school.

Bartley, who attends MacArthur High School and played for the Peoria Irish this spring/summer, joins Roby and 6-11 center Austin Gillman as players verbally committed to attend Saint Louis.

Bartley’s recruitment gained steam during the summer thanks to his play with the Irish, and program director and head coach Gavin Sullivan stated in a story written by Scott Richey of the Decatur Herald & Review back in July that Bartley’s skill set will change as he gains strength.

“Marcus is going to be one of those players that will change a lot in college when he gets stronger,” said Sullivan.

“You could always see his length and skill set. Being that tall and lanky and being able to handle the ball the way he does, a lot of teams can see him being a (point guard), a combo guard or even play him as a (shooting guard) in their system.”

In addition to Bartley and Roby the Billikens will also have Central Michigan transfer Austin McBroom and Villanova transfer Achraf Yacoubou on the perimeter in 2014. In his lone season at CMU, McBroom averaged 10.9 points and 2.7 assists per game, proving to be one of the best newcomers in the Mid-American Conference. As for Yacoubou, in two seasons at Villanova he averaged 2.6 points and 1.8 rebounds per game but the transfer year and a new system could result in increased productivity.

With Jett and McCall on the way out Saint Louis needed additional depth on the perimeter, and with Bartley’s decision to commit the Billikens have taken care of that need.

Saint Louis pushes New Mexico State aside to advance

Dwayne Evans Saint Louis
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Saint Louis came into this 2013 NCAA tournament as a trendy underdog pick to make the Final Four after winning the Atlantic 10 championship this past weekend. The Billikens took their first step toward that goal Thursday with a 64-44 win over New Mexico State in the Round of 64 at The Palace of Auburn Hills in Auburn Hills, Mich.

Dwayne Evans, fresh off winning the Most Outstanding Player award in the A-10 tournament, led Saint Louis with 24 points and six rebounds. Evans was the centerpiece of a Saint Louis gameplan that didn’t change and likely will not change for the remainder of this tournament. The Billikens thrive on defense at one end of the floor and efficiency at the other.

Saint Louis turned the ball over just 10 times, credit going first and foremost to point guards Kwamain Mitchell and Jordair Jett. Those two combined for 12 assists and four total turnovers. Their ability to facilitate is why Evans and sharpshooter Cody Ellis are able to get involved. Ellis finished with 12 points.

Saint Louis now moves on to face the winner of Oklahoma State vs. Oregon, which tips off in San Jose at 4:40 p.m. ET.

Oklahoma State is favored, but regardless of who advances to meet Saint Louis, the focus will be on the backcourts. Oklahoma State guard Marcus Smart is a physical and productive freshman guard who is one of the biggest reasons why the Cowboys are where they are right now. Dominic Artis’ injury hurt Oregon during conference play when he was forced to sit on the bench.

Whoever advances will have their hands full against a veteran Saint Louis backcourt in the Round of 32.

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Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_