Billikens survive OT thriller against pesky Patriots
ST. LOUIS — Rob Loe recorded 10 points in overtime and Saint Louis scored on nine of its 10 OT possessions to earn an electrifying 87-81 win over George Mason Saturday afternoon at Chaifetz Arena.
Loe’s clutch 3-pointer with 44.1 seconds remaining in regulation knotted the score at 68-apiece, and a SLU defensive stop on George Mason's ensuing possession sent the game to overtime.
Loe opened the OT session with another 3-pointer and canned a second overtime trey to give the Billikens a 78-74 lead. After a Dwayne Evans layup made the score 80-76, Saint Louis sunk 7 of 8 free throws to put the Patriots away. Loe, Evans and Austin McBroom went a combined 8 for 8 at the free-throw line in extra time.
The win was No. 19-ranked SLU’s 14th in a row and 20th of the season. The Billikens’ 14-game winning streak ties the school record for consecutive victories. SLU’s 20-2 record is the best 22-game mark to open a season in program history. The Bills (7-0 A-10) are the only undefeated team in Atlantic-10 play.
George Mason (Va.) fell to 7-14 overall and 0-7 in the A-10. The Patriots are still seeking their first Atlantic-10 victory after joining the conference in July 2013. Today’s meeting was the first between the two programs.
Loe hit 3 of 5 triples and 6 of 6 free throws in scoring 23 points, the highest single-game total of the senior’s collegiate career. Jordair Jett scored 18 points and dished out a team-high five assists to go along with three steals.
Mike McCall Jr. knocked down a trio of 3-pointers in scoring 15 points, while McBroom chipped in 14 points and had three steals. Evans recorded 12 points to give the Billikens five players in double figures. Evans also grabbed 10 rebounds for his 23rd career double-double.
Bryon Allen scored a career-best 30 points on 12-of-17 shooting for George Mason. Patrick Holloway notched 15 points and Erik Copes had 10 points and nine rebounds, seven of which came on the offensive glass.
The Patriots have lost their last six A-10 games by a combined 25 points. They shot 51.5 percent from the field, including 62.5 percent (5 of 8) from 3-point range. But 13 Saint Louis steals helped offset the Patriots’ hot shooting.
The Billikens made 23 of 25 free throws (92 percent), including 9 of 10 in OT. SLU missed just one field-goal attempt in the overtime session.
SLU took a 27-26 lead into halftime and again had the lead at 31-30 early in the second half. Back-to-back buckets by Allen pushed the Patriots in front at 35-31, and they did not allow the Billikens to take the lead the rest of the half.
George Mason led by as many as seven points at three different junctures of the second half, but SLU refused to go away. After an Allen 3-pointer at the 7:34 mark put the Patriots up 60-53, SLU answered with four quick points.
A Jalen Jenkins layup gave George Mason a 66-61 lead, but the Patriots scored just two points the last four-plus minutes of regulation against SLU’s stout defense. Those two points came on an Erik Copes tip-in with 54 ticks left.
About 10 seconds later, McBroom found Loe at the top of the arc for a 3-pointer, which drew SLU even at 68-all. Prior to Loe’s triple, the Patriots had held the lead the preceding 16-plus minutes.
The Billikens will try to win a school-record 15th straight game when they travel to Philadelphia to take on Saint Joseph’s. Tip time is slated for 6 p.m. CST on Wednesday, Feb. 5. The contest will be televised on FOX Sports Midwest Plus.
Written by Josh Sellmeyer, Saint Louis sports information assistant.