Is there anyone in the country that can stop Saint Louis guard Jordair Jett?
The Answer: NO! Jett’s strong game-winning drive with 4 seconds to spare gave the Saint Louis University Billikens a 65-63 victory to cap off their Philadelphia road trip. This victory gives the Billikens 22 wins on the season and their 16th straight victory. That 16th straight victory ties a school record for consecutive victories in a season tying the 1947-48 and 1948-49 Billikens.
Jett has turned into one of the strongest basketball guards in the country and showed why on Saturday. He scored 13 of SLU’s final 15 points in the game. He showed off his quick first step and powerful driving ability to a national audience.
The first half was a series of runs, but La Salle’s final run in the half tied the game at 33 going into halftime.
Saint Louis had a hot start. They had found gaps in the La Salle defense and had a very balanced offensive game plan as SLU’s five starters all scored in the opening eight minutes. The Billikens jumped out to a 17-8 lead forcing La Salle Head Coach Dr. John Giannini to burn an early time out.
Giannini’s speech at the timeout must have jumped started his team because they responded with 12-4 run to close the Billikens lead to one point. They continually fed La Salle Center Steve Zack and Forward Jerrell Wright as both players gave Saint Louis Forward Rob Loe and Center John Manning problems in the post. Loe and Manning got into foul trouble, which allowed both La Salle forwards to get good looks around the rim against an undersized Billikens front court.
After La Salle pulled within one point, the Billikens had an 8-0 run to extend their lead back to nine. Jordair Jett forced the La Salle defense to overextend because they were fearful of his driving ability. That allowed Jett to find SLU Forward Dwayne Evans and Forward Tanner Lancona for some easy buckets. The Billikens were up 29-20 with 6:42 left in the first half.
La Salle would response to the mini-run by SLU. The Explorers ended the first half on a 13-4 run that was capped off by a last second 15-footer by La Salle Guard Tyreek Duren to tie the game at 33.
The second half was a back and forth affair between both sides, neither side refusing to bend or break. They went bucket-for-bucket for the first 11 minutes of the second half with a number of lead changes.
The Billikens slowly weathered the storm and slowly built a seven point lead with 5:05 left in the second half. They thought they had some breathing room, but La Salle had one final push left in them.
La Salle Guard Tyrone Garland, who had been quiet most of the game, made a key bucket and hit two free throws to keep the game within three points. After Garland’s brief appearance, the Billikens knocked a potential rebound to La Salle’s Duren who took a wide open three-pointer and nailed it to tie the game at 61. However, the Explorers didn’t have a way to stop Jett.
Duren’s three-pointer was quickly answered by SLU’s Jett who hit an acrobatic shot with 56 seconds left in regulation. Duren responded, but SLU placed the ball in Jett’s hands to win the game.
Saint Louis will return home on Saturday, Feb. 15 to take on Virginia Commonwealth University in a key Atlantic 10 conference game. La Salle will take on Saint Joseph’s University on Feb. 15 at home.