Billikens Struggle, Still Take Down Duquesne Dukes, 76-72

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Austin McBroom's go-ahead three-pointer with 50 seconds left saves the day as the Billikens escape with their twelfth straight victory. They also maintain their perfect Atlantic 10 Conference record.

Jim Crews’ 400th victory as a head coach is one that he would like to forget.

Saint Louis went down to the wire against the Duquesne Dukes, but pulled out a 76-72 victory in the final minute of the game. Austin McBroom had the go-ahead three-pointer with 50 seconds left in the game. The Dukes missed a reverse layup to reclaim the lead, and the Bills knocked down their free throws the rest of the way to avoid the upset and claim their twelfth straight victory.

"This season, we've been in circumstances where we had to fight," McBroom said to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "We had to keep fighting and eventually it was going to fall into our hands."

This game was a lot tougher than the Billikens anticipated. The two factors that nearly downed them in Pittsburgh were: Duquesne’s shooting performance against the Bills defense and Dwayne Evans’ limited play.

First, Duquesne had the best shooting performance against the Bills defense this season. They made 50 percent of their shots, including 53 percent of their three-point shots. It allowed them to build an eight point lead into the second half.

Duquesne had three players score in double digits. Ovie Soko led the way with 18 points, but Micah Mason’s shooting was hot, making five of his seven attempted three-pointers. Mason, however, missed the most important three-pointer of the game that could have tied it up at 75 with seconds to spare. That missed three-pointer was the last chance that they had of pulling the upset against Saint Louis.

The second factor was Dwayne Evans, who had a foul plagued game. Evans, SLU’s leading scorer, also struggled this game only scoring five points. He played 17 minutes and fouled out with 3:34 left in the second half. However, this allowed Austin McBroom to step up in Evans’ absence. He made key play after play against the Dukes. He made a key jumper with 9:31 left in the second half to briefly give SLU a 56-55 lead.

Saint Louis will finish the month by playing Richmond on Wednesday, Jan. 29 at 8 p.m. eastern time. Duquesne will play St. Bonaventure on Saturday, Jan. 25.

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