The Davidson Wildcats blew out the Saint Louis Billikens on Saturday, 89-54. The Wildcats responded in a big way to their loss at Virginia Commonwealth earlier this week. The Wildcats shot 55 percent from the field going 54.5 percent from 3-point range. Davidson dominated from beginning to end and showed that their high-powered offensive to something conference opponents will have to be concerned about going forward.
Saint Louis struggled all game as their only shot 40.4 percent from the field and only went 15.8 percent from 3-point range. It was the polar opposite from their performance against the George Washington Colonials. The Bills had various defensive breakdowns and could not get anything going on the offensive end. They suffer their fourth straight loss with three of those losses coming in conference play.
Davidson has a top ten offensive in terms of scoring and it showed against the Billikens on Saturday. However, their initial scoring burst came from an unlikely source. Wildcats guard Brian Sullivan opened the game on a hot streak making three 3-pointers early in the first half. Sullivan normally averages 9 points per game.
Sullivan had many open looks as the experienced Wildcats made extra passes and executed their offensive to perfection. Sullivan’s early production quickly gave the Wildcats a double-digit lead, 13-4 with 16:29 left in the first half. SLU’s defense struggle early as Davidson was hot out of the starting gate.
The Wildcats expanded their lead as the Billikens struggled shooting in the first half. The Bills missed their first seven 3-point attempts, unlike their previous game against George Washington when they made numerous 3-point attempts. As SLU struggled, Davidson continued to increase their lead by as much as 23 points with 5:41 left in the first half. Sullivan scored 18 points in the first half for the Wildcats and Cats guard Tyler Kalinoski contributed 9 points in the first. Kalinoski also scored his 1,000th career point in the first half.
Davidson shot over 50 percent in the first half and SLU just could not find a way to stop the Davidson offensive. The Bills had numerous defensive breakdowns allowing for numerous open shots by the Wildcats. However, the Bills had one string of offensive success late in the first half going on an 11-2 run. The Billiken guards aggressively slashed to the basket and had Davidson on their toes for a bit, but only cut the Wildcat lead to 14 points by halftime. The second half would be dominated by Davidson.
Guard Jordan Barham took over in the second half for the Wildcats. He had 15 points in the second half for Davidson including two 3-pointers. The Wildcats continued to dominate against the Billikens by getting into the lane and out powering the Billikens or kicking the ball out of the lane for open 3-point attempts.
The Cats increased to over 30 points about halfway through the second half. SLU just could not find a respond or any offensive in the second half. The Bills performance against Davidson left something to be desired as the Wildcats cruised to victory.
Davidson’s offense was clicking on cylinders. The Wildcats were predicted to finish 12th in the preseason conference poll, but now hold an 11-3 record with losses only to Virginia, North Carolina and Virginia Commonwealth. Their transition from the Southern Conference has been much easier than the experts had predicted. Their offensive is something to be reckon with going forward into the conference schedule.
The Billikens finish their conference road trip on a sour note after an encouraging performance against GW. SLU needs to find another piece to compliment forward Milik Yarbrough who is the only Billiken that has the ability to create his own shot. Davidson would constantly double team Yarbrough and while he finished with 18 points, it seemed like he was the only player able to get anything going on the offensive end. Freshman guard Davell Roby has been playing well on the offensive end and might be the answer to compliment Yarbrough, but this road trip gives the Bills more questions rather than answers going forward.
Saint Louis will return home on Wednesday, Jan. 14th to play the Duquesne Dukes at 8 p.m. eastern time. Davidson will travel to Amherst to take on the Massachusetts Minutemen on Wednesday, Jan. 14th at 7 p.m. eastern time.