Saint Louis (8-5, 0-0 A-10) vs. Rhode Island (8-3, 0-0 A-10)
Saturday, Jan. 3 :: 2 p.m. (CT) :: Chaifetz Arena (10,600)
SETTING THE SCENE
Saint Louis begins its 10th season of Atlantic 10 Conference play when it hosts the Rams of the University of Rhode Island on Saturday. Game time is scheduled for 2 p.m.
FOLLOWING THE ACTION
Saturday’s game will be televised nationally on NBC Sports Network. St. Louisan Steve Schlanger and former UCLA head coach Ben Howland are on the call.
The radio broadcast will air on 101 ESPN (101.1 FM). As always, Billiken Hall of Famer Bob Ramsey provides the play-by-play, while St. Louis American Sports Editor and all-around hoops expert Earl Austin Jr. handles the analysis.
In addition to airing nationally on NBC Sports Network, the telecast will be streamed online at NBC Sports Live Extra for those who subscribe to NBCSN. While free, you must log-in to NBC Sports Live Extra using the username and password you use on your service providers website.
Saint Louis begins conference play and concludes its six-game homestand today against Rhode Island.
The Billikens are 6-3 overall at Chaifetz Arena this season and 3-2 on the homestand. In seven seasons overall at Chaifetz Arena, the Billikens are 93-23. SLU has posted a 52-9 mark on its home floor the last three years.
Saint Louis has captured the Atlantic 10 Conference regular-season title outright the last two years.
Saint Louis has advanced to the NCAA Tournament the last three years, a school record. Additionally, the Billikens are one of 10 programs in the nation that have advanced to the third round of the NCAA Tournament in each of the last three seasons.
Austin McBroom leads the team in scoring with 11.2 ppg. He connects on 49.1 percent (28-for-57) of his 3-point attempts, which is third in the A-10.
Ash Yacoubou, who has averaged 13.0 ppg over the last four games, averages a team-best 4.8 rpg and pumps in 9.8 ppg.
Milik Yarbrough is the Bills’ third-leading scorer with 8.4 ppg. He posted a double-double in the Billikens’ victory against Vermont and is 11th in the A-10 in FG percentage (.531).
Six of the Billikens’ eight victories have come while holding the opposition to fewer than 60 points. The Billikens have won 65 games in a row when holding their opponents to 60 or fewer points.
Saint Louis is fifth in the Atlantic 10 Conference in scoring defense with 62.2 points allowed per game. However the Billikens have struggled offensively, ranking 13th in the league with 61.2 ppg.
Billiken head coach Jim Crews is in his third season at the helm. The back-to-back A-10 Coach of the Year is 63-19 in three seasons at Saint Louis, 417-367 in 27 years overall.
RECAPPING THE VANDERBILT GAME
Ash Yacoubou and Austin McBroom scored 15 points apiece and Milik Yarbrough added a career-high 13, but Saint Louis dropped a 70-55 decision to Vanderbilt Wednesday afternoon at Chaifetz Arena.
The Billikens, who saw their winning streak halted at three, completed the non-conference portion of their schedule with an 8-5 record. Vanderbilt improved to 9-3.
Yacoubou connected on a season-high three 3-pointers (3-of-5) and hauled in a team-high six rebounds. McBroom was 3-of-6 from beyond the arc and matched Yarbrough’s 5-of-9 overall shooting performance.
Davell Roby and Reggie Agbeko tallied three assists and five rebounds, respectively, for Saint Louis, which equaled its season low of eight turnovers. Agbeko grabbed a game-high four offensive boards.
BILLIKENS IN THE ATLANTIC 10
Saint Louis is embarking on its 10th season in the Atlantic 10 Conference.
The Billikens have posted an 88-56 record in A-10 tilts.
In the last three years, the Bills are 38-10 in conference affairs.
SLU has captured back-to-back A-10 regular-season titles, going 13-3 in league play in each of the last two seasons.
Saint Louis captured its first A-10 tournament crown in 2012-13, the first season the league played the tourney at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
The Billikens are 4-5 in Atlantic 10 Conference openers.
SLU and Rhode Island met in the conference opener last year as well, with SLU pulling out the one-point victory in Kingston.
SLU’s last loss in a conference opener came in 2011-12, an overtime defeat at Dayton.
SPEED LIMIT 60
Six of SLU’s victories this year have come while holding the opposition to fewer than 60 points.
The Billikens have won 66 games in a row when holding their opponents to 60 or fewer points.
The last time the Billikens lost while giving up 60 or fewer points was Jan 29, 2011, a 52-46 defeat at George Washington.
THE MOST SINCE...
Freshman forward Milik Yarbrough posted the first double-double by a Billiken freshman since Dwayne Evans in 2010-11. Evans had five double-doubles in his rookie campaign.
Freshman guard Miles Reynolds' 19 points against North Carolina A&T are the most by a Billiken freshman since Mike McCall Jr. scored 19 against Southern Mississippi on Dec. 23, 2010.
Junior guard Austin McBroom’s six 3-pointers against Bradley are the most by a Billiken since Kwamain Mitchell buried seven against Rhode Island on Jan. 19, 2012.
McBroom’s 26 points against Bradley are the most by a Billiken in a nonconference game since Mitchell had 33 points against UMKC on Dec. 22, 2009.
BILLIKENS CELEBRATING ANNIVERSARY SEASON
This season marks the 100th anniversary of Billiken Basketball, and the 99th season. The Billikens did not compete in 1943-44 due to World War II.
There will be several special events and promotions this season to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Billiken Basketball, including an All-Century Team unveiling later this year. Fans are currently voting for their favorite players via online balloting.
The Billikens’ first game ever recorded was Jan. 14, 1915, against Company E. The Billikens play Duquesne exactly 100 years later on Jan. 14, 2015, at Chaifetz Arena.
SCOUTING RHODE ISLAND
The University of Rhode Island (Kingston, R.I.) enters Saturday’s game with an 8-3 overall record and a three-game winning streak.
E.C. Matthews leads the Rams with 17.2 ppg. He also leads the team with 27 3-pointers made. Matthews is third in the Atlantic 10 Conference in scoring as of Jan. 1, trailing only La Salle’s Jordan Price (18.7 ppg) and St. Bonaventure’s Marcus Posley (17.7 ppg).
Hassan Martin scores 11.5 ppg and averages a team-high 6.3 rpg. He also leads the team with 21 blocks.
The Rams have employed the same starting five in each of their first 11 games. Joining Matthews and Martin in the lineup are Jared Terrell (9.5 ppg), Gilvydas Biruta (9.1 ppg) and Biggie Minnis (3.5 ppg).
Head coach Dan Hurley is in his third season at URI with a 68-65 record. Including two seasons at Wagner, he is 106-88 in five career seasons. Hurley’s father, Bob Sr., is the highly successful head coach at St. Anthony High School in New Jersey. Dan’s older brother, Bobby, starred at Duke and is in his second year as head coach at Buffalo.
Rhode Island owns a 7-6 advantage in the series. The Rams had won five in a row before the Billikens picked up a 59-58 victory last season in Kingston.
The last game between SLU and URI at Chaifetz Arena was on Jan. 19, 2013, an 82-80 overtime win for the Rams.