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Riding a 3-game winning streak, the Saint Louis Billikens are back on track

SLU’s long-term COVID pause is finally in the past.

NCAA Basketball: Saint Louis at Minnesota Harrison Barden-USA TODAY Sports

After nine postponed games and two losses since Dec. 30, the Saint Louis Billikens seem to be heading in the right direction again.

SLU was picked second in the Atlantic 10 preseason poll — an easy decision as the team was returning five starters who finished last season 23-8 overall and 12-6 in league play.

This season started well for the Billikens, but they had to take a pause in late December due to COVID-19 protocols. By then, they had done enough to finish the non-conference season with a 7-1 record and also earn the No. 23 spot in the AP Poll. This was the first time the Billikens broke into the Top 25 since the 2013-14 season.

When they finally returned 34 days later, they had to swallow a close 76-71 loss to Dayton. They then had to postpone a game against Richmond, take an 82-75 loss to La Salle and postpone a game against George Washington.

The Billikens put all of that behind them by picking up a clear 70-59 win over St. Bonaventure on Feb. 6. The Bonnies have proven to be one of the better teams in the A-10, and are currently in fourth with an 8-3 record.

SLU picked up two more wins against Rhode Island and Fordham. The Billikens (10-3, 3-2 A-10) will get a rematch against La Salle (8-12, 5-8 A-10) on Tuesday night. The Explorers have lost back-to-back games since their victory against SLU.

La Salle is toward the bottom part of the stats sheet for both offense and defense in the conference. Only Sherif Kenney is consistently scoring in double digits this season with 10.4 points per game. The sophomore has improved recently, averaging 14.7 points through the last six games.

While there have been some obstacles this season, the Billikens still have the potential to do well. Their offense sits at the top of the conference with 78.6 points per game while their defense is third, only allowing 64.1 points per game. Their 14.5 margin is the best in the league.

Three players are scoring in double digits for SLU, led by senior Javonte Perkins with 17.8 points per game. That’s good for sixth-best in the A-10.

Jordan Goodwin, also a senior, follows with 15.1 points per game and leads in rebounds with 10.2. He was named A-10 co-Player of the Week on Monday, but he is also shining on the national stage. Goodwin is currently ninth in the nation in double-doubles this season with 10 of them in 13 games.

The third player scoring in double figures is redshirt freshman Gibson Jimerson with 10.8 points per game and the best three-point percentage on the team at 43.7%.

The Billikens will look to add to their winning streak on Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET on CBS Sports Network.