|6:30 ET, Jan 29, 2021
Robins Center, Richmond, Virginia
Just back from layoff, No. 22 Saint Louis visits Richmond
A ranked team losing at home to an unranked team generally prompts plenty of criticism.
However, No. 22 Saint Louis' 76-71 home loss Tuesday night against Dayton in the Billikens' Atlantic 10 Conference opener wasn't that surprising. It was, after all, the Billikens' first game in 33 days after a COVID-19 outbreak forced the program to postpone seven straight A-10 matchups.
Saint Louis hopes to be more in sync Friday night when it travels to Richmond for its next conference contest.
"We could have done some things better," forward Hasahn French said, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "We'll go work it out in practice. Being off a month definitely can mess up a few things, but I'd say we're doing pretty good as a team. We're staying together, which is a big part of it. I don't think it will take long."
Despite the result, there were positives for the Billikens (7-2, 0-1 A-10). They shot 51.8 percent from the field and dished out 20 assists on 29 field goals while committing only 10 turnovers. Javonte Perkins scored 20 points, French chipped in 16 and Jordan Goodwin contributed an 11-point, 11-rebound double-double.
However, perimeter defense and rebounding let the team down. Dayton connected on 12 of 27 3-point attempts, including 9 of 15 from guards Jalen Crutcher and Ibi Watson, and Saint Louis failed to score a single second-chance point.
Known as an outstanding offensive-rebounding team, the Billikens collected just two offensive boards and were outrebounded 32-30. overall
"Nobody's feeling sorry for us," Saint Louis coach Travis Ford said, according to the Post-Dispatch. "We've got a bull's-eye on our chest, and we understand that."
Perkins' performance upped his scoring average to a team-high 18 points per game while Goodwin adds 16.2 points and 11.1 rebounds per game. The Billikens are shooting 51.1 percent from the field and averaging 82.4 points.
Meanwhile, the Spiders (10-4, 4-2) tuned up for Saint Louis with an easy 79-56 victory Tuesday night at 1-13 Saint Joseph's. Sophomore Tyler Burton pumped in a career-high 25 points as Richmond carved up the Hawks' triangle-and-two defense, connecting on 50.8 percent of its shots and bagging 23 assists on 31 made buckets.
"The worst thing you can do is to try to figure out what they're in or who they're guarding," Spiders coach Chris Mooney said. "The best thing you can do is play and play aggressively."
Richmond opened up a 40-31 halftime lead by sinking 8 of 11 3-point attempts, then blew it open in the second half by going 15 of 18 on 2-pointers. Blake Francis scored 18 points, while Nathan Cayo added 11 and Matt Grace came off the bench to tally 10.
The Spiders' entire starting lineup averages in double figures, led by Francis at 16.6 ppg. Grant Golden hits for 14.8 while Burton scores 13.7 and leads the team in rebounding at 8.2. Cayo contributes 11.6 points per game and Jacob Gilyard chips in 11.4 plus a team-high 5.5 assists.
Rebounding will be a key. Richmond has been outboarded by almost five per game while the Billikens are plus-9.3.
--Field Level Media
Updated January 28, 2021