MBB Preview: No. 18 Billikens Face George Washington
Saturday, March 2, 2013 • 3 p.m. (CT) • Washington, D.C. (Smith Center)
TV: FOX Sports Midwest Plus
Radio: 101 ESPN/101.1 FM/101Sports.com (Bob Ramsey, Earl Austin Jr.)
SETTING THE SCENE
First-place Saint Louis (22-5, 11-2 A-10) looks to continue its winning ways when it travels to Washington, D.C. Saturday afternoon to take on the George Washington Colonials (12-14, 6-7 A-10). Game time is scheduled for 3 p.m. (CT).
FOLLOWING THE ACTION
Saturday's game will be televised in the St. Louis region on FOX Sports Midwest Plus. Channel information is posted on SLUBillikens.com. Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic is producing the game, Byron Kerr (play-by-play), Glenn Consor (analyst) and Kellie Cowan (sidelines) on the call. The radio broadcast will air on 101 ESPN (101.1 FM and 101Sports.com). As always, Billiken Hall of Famer Bob Ramsey will provide the play-by-play, while St. Louis American Sports Editor Earl Austin Jr. handles the analysis.
LAST TIME OUT
• Saint Louis opened the second half with a 21-5 run and coasted to its 10th consecutive victory, a 70-53 Atlantic 10 Conference decision over Saint Joseph's Wednesday night in front of 10,012 fans at Chaifetz Arena.
• With the win, the Billikens extended their lead in the A-10 to a full game over VCU and two full games over Butler and La Salle with three games remaining.
• The league-leading SLU defense delivered again, holding Saint Joseph's to its lowest point total in an A-10 game and its lowest shooting percentage (.326) overall this season. The 17-point margin was the Hawks' second-worst defeat in a league contest this year.
• Dwayne Evans led the Billikens with 21 points and 12 rebounds (five offensive), the junior forward's third double-double in the last six outings. Evans, who topped the 20-point mark for a fourth time this season, sank a career-high nine free throws in a season-high 11 attempts as SLU went 19-of-24 (.792) from the line. He also equaled career highs with three blocks and three steals.
• Rob Loe tallied 11 points and six rebounds, while Mike McCall Jr. added 10 points and a game-high five assists. Jake Barnett grabbed six rebounds for the Bills, whose 41-29 advantage on the glass included a 15-9 edge in offensive boards that translated into a 14-4 margin in second-chance points. Kwamain Mitchell contributed four assists.
• Saint Louis committed only nine turnovers, the 11th time this season the Billikens have had fewer than 10 miscues.
• Saint Louis has won 10 in a row, the longest active streak in the Atlantic 10 Conference and tied for the eighth longest in the country.
• SLU is ranked No. 18 in the AP Top 25 and No. 19 in the USA Today Coaches Poll. It is the Bills' first appearance in the polls since Nov. 28 of last season.
• The Bills, in first place in the A-10, have defeated three ranked foes during the 10-game winning streak. They have a school record four victories against ranked foes this season.
• The Bills lead the A-10 in scoring defense, yielding 57.9 ppg. In A-10 games, the Billikens are fourth in scoring offense, averaging 71.8 ppg in their 13 A-10 contests.
• Saint Louis features a balanced scoring attack, with six players averaging 7.3 points or more per game. Three players score in double figures.
• Junior forward Dwayne Evans leads the team in scoring (12.3 ppg) and rebounding (7.0 rpg). He is averaging 16.0 ppg during SLU's current 10-game winning streak.
• Senior forward Cody Ellis averages 10.7 ppg. He needs two points to reach 1,000 for his career.
• Junior guard Mike McCall Jr. averaged a team-best 13.5 ppg in SLU's four game vs. ranked opponents. For the year, he scores 10.3 ppg and leads the team in steals.
• Junior guard Jordair Jett has averaged 11.8 ppg during SLU's 10-game winning streak. For the year, he scores 9.8 ppg and leads the team in assists.
• Sophomore forward Grandy Glaze has started the last 10 games, coinciding with the Billikens' winning streak.
• In A-10 games, senior guard Kwamain Mitchell averages 9.1 ppg while junior forward Rob Loe averages 8.7 ppg.
• SLU shoots 45.4 percent (632-1391) from the floor, 35.7 percent (169-473) from 3-point range and 70.1 percent (423-603) from the line.
• Up next, SLU travels to Cincinnati to face Xavier on Wednesday, March 6, at the Cintas Center. Game time is scheduled for 8 p.m. (CT).
IN THE RANKINGS
• The Billikens are ranked No. 18 in the AP Top 25 and No. 19 in the USA Today coaches poll.
• It is the first time the Billikens have broken into the polls since last season, when they were ranked No. 23 in the AP poll and No. 25 in the USA Today poll Nov. 28 following SLU's title in the 76 Classic. However, the Bills lost their next game at Loyola Marymount.
• Prior to last year, the Billikens haven't been ranked since the 1993-94 campaign. That squad, under head coach Charlie Spoonhour, climbed as high as No. 16 in the AP poll on February 28.
• Prior to SpoonBall, you have to go back to the 1960s since SLU registered a national ranking. The Billikens were ranked as high as No. 4 (December 8, 1964).
• The Billikens were ranked No. 1 in the first-ever AP poll released Jan. 18, 1949. SLU was also No. 1 the next week (Jan. 25).
• Saint Louis has won 10 in a row, the longest active streak in the Atlantic 10 Conference. The streak is also tied for the eighth longest in the nation.
• Five of the Bills' wins have come on the road (Duquesne, St. Bonaventure, Fordham, Richmond, No. 15 Butler) and five at home (No. 9 Butler, Dayton, Charlotte, No. 24 VCU, Saint Joseph's).
• The Billikens have scored an average of 72.9 ppg during the 10 games, while opponents have scored 58.4 ppg.
• The defense has forced the opponent into 155 turnovers during the 10 games, an average of 15.5 per contest. The Billikens have recorded 84 steals to the opposition's 46.
• The Billikens had a nine-game winning streak earlier this year. It is the first time in school history SLU has had two streaks of at least nine wins in a single season.
ON THE OFFENSIVE
• The Billikens are fourth in the A-10 in scoring offense in A-10 games only, averaging 71.8 ppg in their 13 league games.
• The Billikens shot 55.4 percent from the field en route to 76 points against VCU. It was the fourth time in league play that the Billikens eclipsed the 50-percent shooting mark.
• The Billikens' 90 points against Fordham marked the first time SLU scored 90 or more since winning 90-52 against Chicago State on Feb. 22, 2011.
• The last time SLU scored 90 or more in a conference game was against Conference USA foe DePaul during the 2001-02 season, a 92-74 win. SLU last scored 90 or more on the road against Murray State on Dec. 18, 1993 (W, 92-89). Finally, the last time SLU scored 90 or more in a conference road game was on March 1, 1990, a 102-86 win at Loyola Chicago in MCC play.
• SLU registered 80 or more points in consecutive games (Dayton, at Fordham) for the first time since last year's ESPN 76 Classic in Anaheim, when they scored 80 and 83 points in wins against Villanova and Oklahoma, respectively.
• In research conducted by Tom Timmermann of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Billikens had won eight-consecutive league games by 10 or more points for the first time in SLU history.
• Saint Louis leads the A-10 in scoring defense, giving up just 57.9 ppg.
• Held Saint Joseph's to its lowest point total in an A-10 game and its lowest shooting percentage (.326) overall this season.
• VCU, which leads the league in scoring offense, didn't record its 10th point until the 4:08 mark of the first half in the game Feb. 19.
• Saint Louis held Charlotte to 58 points, the 49ers' second-lowest total in A-10 play.
• SLU held Richmond to 46 points and just 10 field goals.
• Against Dayton, SLU forced the Flyers into 21 turnovers, scoring 30 points off those TOs. That is tied for the most points scored off of turnovers this year, the other coming against New Mexico.
• Against Butler, the Billikens forced the Bulldogs into 23 turnovers, the most by Butler since the 2002-03 season.
• Against St. Bonaventure, SLU forced a season-high-tying 19 turnovers. SLU also forced Texas A&M and Savannah State into 19 turnovers earlier this year.
• Against UMass, the Billikens held the Minutemen to 10 points below their average, and the 62 points allowed were tied for UMass' lowest scoring output of the season.
• SLU yielded fewer than 50 points in four consecutive games earlier this year for the first time since the 1949-50 season. SLU allowed 45 points against Eastern Illinois, 44 vs. Loyola Marymount, 41 to SIUE and 46 against New Mexico. During that four-game stretch, teams shot just 35.1 percent (65-185) from the field and 27.3 percent (15-55) from beyond the arc.
• The Billikens yielded a season low in points in three straight contests earlier this year (Eastern Illinois, Loyola Marymount, SIUE).
QUEST FOR 1,000
Senior forward Cody Ellis needs two more points to become the 27th member of the 1,000 career points club at SLU.
• The Billikens' top four scorers are separated by just 1.6 ppg.
• No Billiken appears in the top 15 in scoring in the A-10 statistical report. In A-10 games only, SLU does not have a player in the top 10, despite ranking fourth in the league in scoring offense during A-10 play. SLU's leading scorer in A-10 play, Dwayne Evans (13.7 ppg), is 14th.
• Seven different players have led the team in scoring this season.
• A different Billiken has led the team in scoring in four of the last five games.
• Junior guard Jordair Jett is 10th overall and first among guards in the A-10 with a 53.3 percent shooting mark from the field. Junior forward Dwayne Evans shoots 51.8 percent from the floor to rank 11th. The Billikens are the only team in the A-10 to have two players rank in the top 11 in the league in field-goal percentage.
• Junior guard Mike McCall Jr. is sixth in the A-10 in 3-point field-goal percentage, hitting 42.4 percent from long range.
• Senior forward Cody Ellis is fifth in the A-10 in free-throw percentage (85.6 percent), while McCall Jr. is eighth (82.2 percent).
MOVING ON UP
• Kwamain Mitchell is ninth on SLU's all-time scoring list. He is fourth all-time in steals, one away from tying Anthony Drejaj for third, and fourth in assists. He is the only player in school history to rank in the top five in assists and steals, as well as the top 10 in career points.
• Cory Remekun continues to climb the blocked shots chart. He is fifth on the all-time list.
• Cody Ellis trails Mitchell for sixth on the all-time list in 3-pointers made. Ellis is fifth all-time at SLU in 3-pointers attempted, just ahead of Mitchell.
• Prior to the New Mexico game Dec. 31, the Billikens led wire-to-wire the previous three contests (Eastern Illinois, Loyola Marymount and SIUE). The Lobos snapped that streak when they opened the game with a 3-pointer. However, SLU quickly responded with a trey of its own, then took the lead minutes later and led the rest of the way.
• SLU also never trailed in wins against Southern Illinois, St. Bonaventure, Fordham and VCU.
BILLIKENS VS. RANKED FOES
• The Billikens have four victories against ranked foes (New Mexico, Butler, VCU, Butler) for the first time in school history.
• No. 9 Butler was the highest-ranked opponent SLU has beaten since knocking off No. 2 Louisville in 2003.
• The Billikens are in their fifth season of play in the 10,600-seat Chaifetz Arena on the SLU campus. The Bills are 71-17 all-time at Chaifetz Arena.
• SLU is 16-2 at Chaifetz Arena this season. Over the last two years, the Billikens are 31-3.
ABOUT GEORGE WASHINGTON
• George Washington University enters Saturday's game 12-14 overall and 6-7 in the A-10.
• The Colonials are coming off a 73-64 loss at Richmond last Wednesday. GW led by as much as 14 in the first half but couldn't hold on.
• Lasan Kromah is second on the squad with 9.7 ppg, while Patricio Garino chips in 9.5 ppg. Garino is fourth in the league with 2.2 steals per contest.
• As a team, the Colonials are fifth in the A-10 in scoring defense in third in field-goal percentage defense. GW is third in the conference in rebounding margin (+4.7).
• Head coach Mike Lonergan is in his second season at GW. Previously, he coached at Vermont from 2005 to 2011, taking Vermont to the NCAAs in 2010 and the NIT in 2011.
• GW leads the all-time series 5-4. The Billikens have never won at the Smith Center, going 0-4. Two of those losses have come in overtime, including in 2006 when GW was ranked No. 17 in the country. In 2010, GW won in overtime despite Cody Ellis (then a freshman) scoring 20 points thanks in part to six 3-pointers.
INTERIM HEAD COACH JIM CREWS
On Aug. 24, 2012, it was announced that SLU head coach Rick Majerus would take a leave of absence. Jim Crews was named interim head coach for the 2012-13 season. Crews, an assistant under Majerus last season, has 24 years of additional experience as head coach at Army (seven seasons) and Evansville (17 seasons). He played and coached at Indiana under Bob Knight, winning national championships as a player (1976) and assistant coach (1981). His 25-year coaching record stands at 376-353.
SLU ADVANCES TO CBE HALL OF FAME CLASSIC FINAL
The Billikens topped Texas A&M 70-49 on Nov. 19 in the CBE Hall of Fame Classic to advance to the championship game versus Kansas. Against the Jayhawks, SLU rallied in the second half but came up short, 73-59. Cody Ellis led the Billikens with 19 points against KU. Last year, the Billikens won the 76 Classic in Anaheim (now called the DirecTV Classic) by topping Boston College, Villanova and Oklahoma. It was the first in-season tournament win for the Bills since the 1980s.
EVANS NAMED TO ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM
Junior forward Dwayne Evans was named to the CBE Hall of Fame Classic All-Tournament team. In four games (which included SLU's home games vs. USC Upstate and Santa Clara), Evans averaged 14.8 ppg and 7.8 rpg. He tied his career scoring high in victories against USC Upstate and Texas A&M with 21 points.
MITCHELL, JETT HONORED BY A-10
Senior point guard Kwamain Mitchell was named first-team preseason All-Conference by A-10 coaches and media. Last season, he was named third-team All-Conference after finishing second on the squad with 12.4 ppg. He led the Billikens in assists (126) and steals (44). Junior guard Jordair Jett, an All-Defensive team selection last season, earned the same honor in preseason voting of A-10 coaches and media.
A GLANCE AT LAST SEASON
• SLU went 26-8 overall and 12-4 in the A-10 last season.
• Saint Louis, as a No. 9 seed, advanced to the third round of the NCAA Tournament last season, its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2000. The Billikens knocked off No. 8 seed Memphis in the second round and took No. 1 seed Michigan State to the wire before falling in the third round.
• The Billikens' 26 victories last year were the second most all time, one shy of the program record set in 1988-89.
A trio of Billikens played overseas last summer. Junior forward Jake Barnett went on a goodwill tour through East Asia. Senior forward Cody Ellis attended training camp with the Australia national team and proceeded to appear in exhibition games with the Aussie national team set-up. Junior forward Rob Loe competed with New Zealand in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Venezuela.