The freshman at Saint Louis University had their first road trip against Indiana State University. It seemed like they would be overwhelmed by the moment, but after some early jitters, they calmed down and showed an uncanny ability to overcome adversity. Saint Louis took an early punch to the mouth being down 10-0 early, but this young team showed great resilience and resolve to claw its way back into the game and eventually dominated the second half against the Indiana State Sycamores.
The first half was a two-sided affair for both teams. The Sycamores struck first starting the game with a 10-0 run and caused the Bills some problems. Sycamores forward Justin Gant and guard Devonte Brown were out-muscling the Bills in the lane to give ISU their early lead. The Bills also struggled on the offensive end as Indiana State forced the Bills to miss their first six shots of the game.
The Sycamore began to cool off after their hot start as the Billikens cut the Sycamores lead down to four points, but ISU responded with five straight points by Gant and Brown to increase their lead to nine before the under 8:00 media timeout to hold a 23-14 lead. However, the Sycamores would only score four more points in the first half.
Saint Louis’ Austin McBroom started a 14-1 run to close out the first half. The Billikens locked down on the defensive end after a lackadaisical effort during the opening 13 minutes of the game. However, the Billikens had some help from the Sycamores as they did not make a field goal for the final 6:49 of the first half.
The Bills decided to drive the ball into the lane and use backdoor cuts to confuse the ISU defense. McBroom forced the action finding his teammates and slowly brought SLU back into the game. SLU got to the foul line five time during the final 6:47 of the first half. This aggressiveness gave the Bills a one point, 28-27 lead, going into halftime.
The second half opened as a very sloppy affair. Both teams struggled out of halftime with some poor defense and self-inflicted mistakes that kept the game tied at 29 for at least three minutes. SLU missed their first eight shots in the second half. However, the Sycamores only made one shot in the opening four minutes of the second half.
SLU continued to slash into the lane and drew fouls against the Sycamores getting to the foul line. At one point, Saint Louis scored 17 straight points on their free throws and did not make a field goal until the 13:00 mark in the second half. As SLU made free throw after free throw, ISU drew nothing but iron allowing SLU to build their lead.
Free throw shooting allow the Bills to build a 40-35 lead and the Bills never looked back from that point. The Bills offense woke up as McBroom penetrated the lane and found freshman forward Milik Yarbrough for some easy buckets. Yarbrough scored 7 straight points midway through the second half to increase the Bills lead into double- digits.
Poor shooting in the second half downed the Sycamores. They would get quality looks, but could not make a shot and even when they did hit a shot, the Billikens would response to undercut any momentum that ISU attempted to gain.
At the end of the second half, Ash Yacoubou showed some of his explosiveness and ability to drive the lane. He scored the final six points for the Bills in the victory. He relied too much on his outside shot at first, but his driving ability is something that the Bills need to see early and often this season.
Saint Louis goes to 2-0 on the season and will play Texas A&M Corpus Christi as they begin their participation in the Corpus Christi Coastal Classic on Sunday, Nov. 23. Indiana State falls to 1-1 and will be Brown as they begin their participation in the Las Vegas Invitational on Saturday, Nov. 22.