The Saint Louis Billikens never make it easy. After being up 13 in the second half, they squandered away that lead with 8:46 remaining in the second half by allowing the George Washington Colonials to go on a 23-9 run. SLU Forward Dwayne Evans got into foul trouble once again, and put the game into the hands of his fellow seniors (SLU Guards Mike McCall Jr., Jordair Jett, Jake Barnett and Forward Rob Loe) to rally and reclaim the lead. The seniors responded and made some key plays to give the Billikens a 66-59 victory at home.
George Washington did not give up and kept it close until the final minute of the game. The Colonials lofted up two three-pointers to tie the game in the closing seconds of the game, but could not hit them. They could not make their shots during key moments of the game and that is why Saint Louis was able to clinch this game down the stretch.
The Billikens have won 19 straight games and have a perfect conference record going into the tough final stretch of the conference season.
"These kids, they’re resilient," said SLU Head Coach Jim Crews. "They can take a hit – and we took some hits, because they keep hitting and keep competing – and made some big plays. I thought (Forward) Grandy (Glaze) was superb tonight. He gave us a lot of energy both offensively and defensively. Rob is really playing well. Jordair played good. (Guard) Austin (McBroom) hit some big free throws and a couple big shots for us. That was a really great win for us."
The opening 8 minutes of this game was close. George Washington pounded the ball inside getting the ball to Forwards Isaiah Armwood and Kevin Larsen. The Colonials complemented their interior play with Guard Joe McDonald making some important early buckets. However, they went away from getting the ball inside and that allowed Saint Louis to put some distance on the Colonials in the first half.
SLU was sparked by Guard Jordair Jett and an unexpected contribution off the bench from Forward Grandy Glaze. Jett went on a personal 5-0 run to extend the Billikens lead to 16-11 with 11:13 left in the first half. After a media timeout, Glaze scored 7 straight points for his team to give the Bills a double-digit lead with 5:12 left in the first half.
Loe ended the first half with a big dunk after a series of turnover by both teams. The Billikens ended the first half up 12 points and some good momentum, but, SLU got somewhat overconfident at the beginning of the second half.
The Colonials did not panic and showed their maturity in the second half. They slowly picked away at the Billikens lead and got it down to 7 points early in the second half. GW had a 23-9 run at in the opening 12 minutes in the second half to tie the game at 50 with 8:46 left in the second half.
A bigger problem for the Billikens was that Evans picked up his fourth foul during this GW run. Saint Louis had to turn to its other seniors to finish the game. They responded and sparked an 8-0 run that forced GW Head Coach Mike Longergan to burn a timeout after his team went missed some easy shots and had a defensive breakdown against Mike McCall Jr.
Jake Barnett hit a key three-pointer with 2:58 left that made SLU go up 10 points and should have sealed the game for the Billikens, but GW would not go away. SLU kept missing free throws allowing the Colonials to stay in the game. GW’s McDonald hit a three-pointer with 1:29 left to come within a basket to tying the game once again.
GW missed two three-pointer to tie the game and then were forced to foul. This gave the Billikens some opportunities that the free throw line and they finally hit their final four shots from the line to end the game and claim another nail biting victory.
Saint Louis will stay at home to play the Duquesne Dukes on Thursday, Feb. 27 at 8 p.m. eastern time. George Washington will return home to take on the George Mason Patriots on Sunday, March 2 at 2 p.m. eastern time.