Billikens-Owls collide in vital A-10 matchup
It will be an interesting matchup on the perimeter when Saint Louis plays host to Temple on Jan. 11.
The Billikens were ranked third in the Atlantic 10 Conference from 3-point range through Jan. 8, shooting 39.1 percent from behind the arc. The Owls led the league in 3-point defense, allowing opponents only a 28.7 success rate.
At the other end of the court, the Owls were shooting 39.4 percent on 3-pointers, second in the conference. The Billikens were allowing only 30.4 success against them, which was third best in the A-10.
Saint Louis coach Rick Majerus, however, wasn't sure of the significance of those numbers.
"Shooting the 3 is sometimes misleading," Majerus said. "Your statistics are against who and in what situations. When there's a bigger lead or a lesser opponent, it's much easier to shoot a 3.
"In terms of defending Temple from 3, that's problematic because they spread the floor so well, having excellent spacing, that they really play well off each other. And they're unselfish."
The key, Majerus said, will simply be sticking close to the potential shooters.
The Billikens' game against the Owls at home will be followed to trip to Charlotte on Jan. 14.
Evans makes key contributions in victory vs. Colonials
Sophomore F Dwayne Evans recorded his second double-double of the season in Saint Louis' win over George Washington. He had game highs in points with 19 and rebounds with 11.
Earlier this season, Evans had 10 points and 10 rebounds in the win over Vermont. He just missed a double-double against Arkansas State when he had 18 points and nine rebounds.
Through Jan. 8, he had one other game in double digits in rebounding (13 against Illinois-Springfield), but he scored only four points in that contest.
Evans was the Billikens' leading rebounder at 5.9 a game entering the week.
Junior G Kwamain Mitchell hit a bit of a slump after scoring in double figures in six of his first 10 games, totaling only 23 points over a three-game span in late December.
But he was back in double figures with 13 points against New Mexico on New Year's Eve, scored 11 at Dayton before fouling out, then had 15 in the win over George Washington.
Over his last six games through Jan. 8, he has had 26 assists against only four turnovers. For the season, he had 64 assists against only 24 turnovers, a 2.7 assist-to-turnover ratio that led the A-10 going into the second week of the conference season.
Saint Louis continued to lead the A-10 in scoring defense through Jan. 8. The Billikens were holding opponents less than 55 points per game. In their first two conference games, however, they surrendered an average of 67.5 that was good for only fourth place.
BY THE NUMBERS: 1 -- After 16 games, only one Saint Louis opponent had shot better than 50 percent from the field. That would be Illinois-Springfield, which lost to the Billikens 72-62.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "You don't need to be confident to defend and rebound." -- Coach Rick Majerus, asked if the back-to-back losses to New Mexico and Dayton had had any impact on his team's confidence.
THIS WEEK'S GAMES
--vs. Temple, Jan. 11
KEY MATCHUPS: This will be a big test for the Billikens in the backcourt. The Owls have three guards, Ramone Moore, Khalif Wyatt and Juan Fernandez, capable of carrying a team, as evidenced by Temple's win over Duke. The Owls are not deep up front, but they have seen freshman Anthony Lee continue to develop to complement Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson inside.
--at Charlotte, Jan. 14
KEY MATCHUPS: The 49ers have a balanced offense and can be dangerous if F Chris Braswell and F Javarris Barnett are on their games. PG Pierria Henry, a freshman, runs the offense and is the team's most reliable 3-point shooter, though he doesn't take many each game.
FUTURES MARKET: Junior F Cody Ellis was shooting 44.4 percent from the field for the season through Jan. 8, but he had gone in a slump. In the games against New Mexico, Dayton and George Washington, he was a combined 8-for-27 from the field. It's too soon to be overly concerned, but Ellis will be counted on for some valuable minutes in the grind of conference play, and he needs to be a consistent contributor.
--Junior F Cory Remekun, who played in each of the first 15 games as a backup, missed Saint Louis' game against George Washington because of a knee injury. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported he was expected back for the game against Temple.
--Sophomore F Rob Loe played a season-high 29 minutes against George Washington, in part because of Remekun's absence. Loe scored 11 points and had six rebounds. Through Jan. 8, Loe was averaging under 15 minutes, but he had started all 16 games.
--Senior F Brian Conklin was a combined 5-for-19 from the field in his past two games through Jan. 8. He went 1-for-9 against the Colonials. His shooting percentage had dropped to 60.4 percent after it was 66.1 percent through the first 14 games.