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A10 Tournament semifinal preview: Davidson looks for season sweep against Saint Louis

The Wildcats beat the Billikens on Feb. 19 by a score of 79-55

Davidson v George Washington
Regular season champion Davidson is two wins away from winning the Atlantic 10 Tournament title.
Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Where to Watch

Location: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.

Tip Time: 1:00 p.m. EST

Television: CBS Sports Network

DraftKings Betting Line: Davidson -3.5, O/U 134.5

After impressive wins on Friday afternoon, Saint Louis and Davidson will battle for a trip to the A10 Finals.

The Billikens dominated La Salle on Thursday and followed it up with a scrappy win against Saint Bonaventure on Friday afternoon, 57-56. Davidson rolled past Fordham by 18 as one of the most efficient offenses in the country put up 74 points.

Now, Saint Louis will look to gain revenge for its 21-point loss in mid-February. Only one Billiken scored double digits as Davidson kept SLU completely quiet from the field with a 32.5% field goal percentage. If history repeats itself, Davidson will head to its first A10 final since 2018. But, if Saint Louis pulls off the upset, it will be yet another A10 team that has played itself on the bubble picture, giving themselves a trip to the title game for the first time since 2019.

Las Vegas thinks it will be much closer than first time around.

Saint Louis

What we saw in D.C. between Saint Louis and Saint Bonaventure on Friday was peak A10 action, and boy, was it a joy to watch.

The Billikens and Bonnies traded the lead back and forth as Saint Louis held the lead into the final seconds. A foul on Kyle Lofton with a second left though gave Bonaventure a chance to win it at the line.

One of the more reliable free throw shooters in the country bricked both attempts and pushed the Billikens on to victory in a much tougher game than its 20-point win over La Salle on Thursday, where it was all smiles and joy.

Saint Louis relied on the play of Gibson Jimerson. The third-year freshman from down the road in Richmond just couldn’t seem to miss on Friday, scoring 20 points and draining six 3-pointers.

“I just love the mentality, the toughness that he plays with, because every single game we play, everybody’s job is to stop Yuri Collins and Gibson Jimerson,” Saint Louis coach Travis Ford said.

Collins was another player who had an outstanding afternoon, dishing out nine assists, rebounding seven balls and scoring 11 points. So, if it wasn’t him scoring the points, he was creating a play to open it up.

Davidson

It was business as usual for the Davidson Wildcats in its 74-56 blowout win against Fordham on Saturday afternoon. They led by 16 at halftime and did not look back from there, leading by as much as 26.

Davidson’s 3-point defense was the ultimate difference-maker on Friday, holding Fordham to a 4-for-28 mark from behind the arc. In two matchups against the Wildcats earlier this season, Fordham had drained 19 3-pointers.

“The Atlantic 10 has a tremendous number of 3-point shooters at every position,” Davidson head coach Bob McKillop said. “I think that Will Reigel, our assistant coach, who was in charge of the scout, did a superb job of strategizing with the way we were going to close out on each individual guy.”

To add onto that stellar play, three Wildcats scored double digits. Sam Mennenga led the way with 15 points. A-10 Player of the Year Luka Brajkovic managed just six points. If he ends up matching well with Saint Louis, it could be a problem for the Billikens. Their limited size does not hold up well against Davidson’s lengthy team.

Prediction

I believe that it will be yet another Davidson win by a large margin. They absolutely destroyed Saint Louis the first time around, and the Billikens just don’t have the size to match up with the Wildcats. Francis Okoro is going to struggle with both Brajkovic and Hyunjung Lee. Davidson wins this one by a score of 74-66.