SETTING THE SCENE
Saint Louis begins play in the Cancun Challenge with two home games this week. The Billikens renew an old conference rivalry when Oral Roberts comes to town Thursday, Nov. 21. SLU then faces Bowling Green Saturday, Nov. 23. Both games are scheduled for a 7 p.m. tip.
FOLLOWING THE ACTION
Both games will be televised on FOX Sports Midwest Plus, with Pat Parris and Scott Highmark on the call. FOX Sports Midwest Plus is a channel used by FOX Sports Midwest to simultaneously show multiple events on two channels. FOX Sports Midwest Plus is available to all video providers that carry FOX Sports Midwest. Channel information is available here. 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. The game will also be streamed live, for a fee, through the A-10 Digital Network.
>> The 2013 Cancun Challenge will be played at the all-inclusive Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya which sits along the Caribbean coastline of the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, located on the eastern portion of the Yucatan Peninsula.
>> This will be the sixth year of the men’s Cancun Challenge and only the second time it has been played at the Hard Rock Hotel (previously the Aventura Spa Palace). Since its inception in 2008, the tournament has hosted 42 teams representing 23 conferences with a total of 83 games played (44 in U.S. and 39 in Mexico). It is currently the only Division I men’s basketball tournament held in Mexico.
>> This year, the event features eight teams split into two divisions: Riviera and Mayan. Representing the Riviera Division are Old Dominion (CUSA), Saint Louis (Atlantic 10), West Virginia (Big 12) and Wisconsin (Big Ten). The Mayan Division features Bowling Green (Mid-American), Georgia Southern (Southern), Oral Roberts (Southland) and Presbyterian (Big South).
>> The tournament format includes eight games played in the United States and eight games played in Mexico. The four Riviera teams host the four Mayan teams with two games in the U.S. before all eight travel south of the border. Once in Mexico, each team is guaranteed two more games with a champion crowned in both divisions.
>> The official tournament website is www.cancunchallenge.net. Follow the Cancun Challenge on Facebook (/TCSCancunChallenge) and Twitter (@CancunChallenge). Use #CancunHoops in all tweets relating to the tournament.
>> The Billikens, who are receiving votes in the AP top 25 and USA Today coaches’ poll, enter Thursday’s game with a 3-0 record.
>> This game, along with Saturday’s home tilt against Bowling Green, is part of the Cancun Challenge. Next week, SLU heads to the Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya for the completion of the tournament where it will face Wisconsin on Tuesday, Nov. 26, and either West Virginia or Old Dominion on Wednesday, Nov. 27.
>> Junior forward Grandy Glaze averages a double-double with 11.0 ppg and 10.0 rpg. In the season opener against Southeast Missouri State, he scored a career-high 16 points. He followed with a career-high 14 rebounds against SIU Edwardsville.
>> Saint Louis was picked to finish second in the Atlantic 10 by a vote of A-10 head coaches and media. Evans was a preseason first-team All-Conference selection, while Jett was named to the preseason All-Conference third team as well as the preseason All-Defensive team.
>> Saint Louis is the reigning Atlantic 10 Conference champion. The Billikens captured the 2012-13 A-10 regular-season title outright, then rolled to three consecutive victories at the A-10 Championship at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.
>> The Billikens have been to back-to-back NCAA Tournaments, claiming a No. 4 seed last season. They knocked off New Mexico State in the second round in San Jose but came up short in their bid to advance to the Sweet Sixteen when they fell to Oregon in the third round.
>> Jim Crews, the NABC and Sporting News National Coach of the Year, had the interim tag removed from his title April 12, 2013. In 26 years as a collegiate head coach, Crews boasts a 385-355 record. He is 31-7 in two years at Saint Louis.
>> Saint Louis is an impressive 33-3 at Chaifetz Arena since the beginning of the 2011-12 season, including a 17-2 mark last year. Since the facility opened in 2008, the Billikens have posted a 74-17 record on their home floor.
LAST TIME OUT
>> Saint Louis rallied from an early deficit and withstood a late Southern Illinois charge in a 76-67 victory over the Salukis Saturday night at SIU Arena.
>> SLU has won back-to-back non-conference road games for the first time since the 1997-98 season. The Billikens improved to 3-0 overall, while Southern Illinois dipped to 0-2.
>> Mike McCall Jr. tied his career high with 19 points. He also gathered a career-high nine rebounds. Dwayne Evans scored 13 points, 12 of which came in the final eight minutes of play and helped SLU maintain its lead.
>> Jordair Jett dished out a career-high-tying eight assists and recorded one steal to move into the top 10 on the Billikens’ all-time list. He is tied with H Waldman and Chris Braun for 10th with 125 career steals.
>> Jake Barnett finished one point away from his career best with 12 points. He nailed three 3-pointers in the first half to help SLU claw back into the game.
>> The Billikens trailed by 13 – their largest deficit of the season – in the first half before a 10-0 run brought SLU back into the game.
SCOUTING ORAL ROBERTS
>> The Oral Roberts Golden Eagles enter Thursday’s game 2-1 overall.
>> Obi Emegano leads Oral Roberts with 23.3 ppg. He has scored more than 20 points in ORU’s last two games – 24 at Kansas State and 27 against Texas State. Shawn Glover follows with 18.3 ppg, while Korey Billbury contributes 11.3 ppg.
>> In their last outing, the Golden Eagles hit 10-of-15 from 3-point range in an 82-65 victory against Texas State last Saturday.
>> ORU opened its season with a thrilling 74-68 victory against crosstown rival Tulsa in the Mayor’s Cup. Obi Emegano scored a team-high 19 points for ORU.
>> Last season, ORU posted a 20-15 record and a third-place finish in the Southland Conference.
>> The Golden Eagles played in the postseason CIT, advancing to the quarterfinals. ORU defeated UT Arlington and UC Irvine before falling to Weber State.
>> Shawn Glover, a transfer from Utah, is ORU’s top returning scorer after registering 14.4 ppg a year ago.
>> Scott Sutton is in his 15th season at Oral Roberts with a 272-178 record. Sutton is ORU’s all-time winningest coach. His father, Eddie, has more than 800 career victories as a former head coach at Creighton, Arkansas, Kentucky, Oklahoma State and San Francisco.
>> Oral Roberts leads the all-time series 13-4.
>> The majority of the games between the teams were played in the 1980s when both schools were members of the Midwestern Collegiate Conference.
>> The Golden Eagles won the last meeting, 55-54, at Scottrade Center Nov. 27, 2004.
SCOUTING BOWLING GREEN
>> Bowling Green, which plays at Wisconsin Thursday before traveling to St. Louis, enters the week 1-1.
>> The Falcons opened the season with a 102-49 victory against Earlham. In its last outing, BGSU dropped a 75-61 decision to South Florida.
>> BGSU set a school record with 22 steals in its 102-49 win over Earlham last Saturday. BGSU also reached the 100-point mark for the first time since the 2003-04 season.
>> Last season, BGSU went 13-19 overall and 7-9 in the Mid-American Conference (MAC).
>> After graduating its top two scorers, as well as three of its five starters, Bowling Green was selected to finish sixth in the Mid-American Conference East Division by a vote of the league’s news media.
>> Jehvon Clarke leads five players in double figures with 17.0 ppg. Chauncey Orr scored 14 points in 12 minutes at Earlham. Spencer Parker scores 13.5 ppg, Anthony Henderson pours in 11.5 ppg and Richaun Holmes contributes 11.0 ppg.
>> Cam Black ranks sixth all-time at BGSU with 102 career blocked shots. He is two away from climbing another spot.
>> Head coach Louis Orr is in his seventh season at the helm of BGSU with a 90-102 record. He guided Seton Hall to two NCAA Tournament appearances during his time there from 2001-06. Orr is a former All-American at Syracuse and played eight years in the NBA. His son, Chauncey, is the Falcons’ top returning scorer after posting 7.5 ppg a season ago.
>> Bowling Green leads the all-time series 4-1.
>> The squads recently played a home-and-home series, with the Falcons winning 59-50 in 2010 in Bowling Green, Ohio, and 67-61 in 2011 at Chaifetz Arena.
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