Saint Louis tested at home by George Mason

By Marc Jean-Louis

It took an extra five minutes at the Chaifetz Arena on Saturday, but after scoring on nine of its first 10 possessions in overtime, the Saint Louis men’s basketball team pulled out an electrifying victory, defeating George Mason 87-81 in overtime.

No. 19 SLU (20-2, 7-0 Atlantic 10) struggled to find a rhythm offensively in the first half. Despite shooting less than 38 percent from the floor and George Mason shooting over 54 percent, the Billikens entered the break clinging to a slender one-point lead.

The second half didn’t start off much better for the Billikens, who trailed the Patriots (7-14, 0-7 A-10) by seven points on three separate occasions. However, SLU refused to go away, outscoring GMU 15-8 over the last seven minutes, 34 seconds of the second half, forcing overtime after Rob Loe knocked down a 3-pointer with 44 seconds left to tie the game at 68-68.

The Billikens shot 4-of-5 from the floor, made two 3-pointers and hit 9-of-10 free throws in the overtime period to take control of the game. Loe scored a career-high 23 points for SLU, while senior Dwayne Evans logged his 23rd career double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds.

The win was the Billikens 14th in a row, tying a school record. They’ll travel to Philadelphia on Wednesday. to take on Saint.Joseph’s, while George Mason will host Dayton.

VCU tops in-state rival

Briante Weber and Melvin Johnson scored 14 points each to lead Virginia Commonwealth to an 81-70 victory over Richmond at the Stuart Siegel Center on Saturday night.

VCU (18-4, 6-1 A-10) sparked a 7-0 run in the opening three minutes of the game and set the tone the rest of the way. Richmond (14-8, 4-3 A-10) pulled itself back within one at 10-9 midway through the first half, but the Rams went on another run, featuring a 3-pointer by Juvonte Reddic along with a pair of blocks on the other end. VCU took a comfortable 34-22 lead into halftime after the Spiders shot just 32 percent.

Both teams exploded offensively in the second half for 95 points. Richmond’s Kendall Anthony scored a career-high 31 points and Cedrick Lindsay chipped in with 21, but it wasn’t enough for the Spiders to crawl their way back into the contest.

VCU has won 16 straight games at home, which is tied for the ninth longest in the country for active home winning streaks. Reddic recorded his third consecutive double-double and the 26thof his career with 11 points and 10 rebounds.

VCU will take on Rhode Island at home on Thursday, while Richmond will return home and play against St. Bonaventure on Wednesday.

Dayton handles GW

Despite a combined 52 points from forwards Isiah Armwood, Kevin Larsen and Patricio Garino, the George Washington men’s basketball team couldn’t extend its five-game winning streak against Dayton on Saturday, falling 75-65 on the road.

GW (17-4, 5-2 A-10) headed into the game without starting guards Joe McDonald and Maurice Creek, and Dayton (14-8 2-5 A-10) was not shy to take advantage and built a 13-point lead over the Colonials in the first half behind hot 3-point shooting. The teams played fairly evenly over the last three minutes of the first half and GW went into the break down 38-29.

The Flyers’ downtown attack resumed to open the second half, as four 3-pointers put the Colonials in a 17-point hole with 15:18 left. GW responded with an 18-8 run in just over 10 minutes to cut Dayton’s lead to 60-53 with just over five minutes left. That would be all for the Colonials, though, as the Flyers responded with an 8-0 run of their own and led 68-53 with two minutes left, securing the victory.

Senior forward Devin Oliver led the Flyers in scoring, finishing with 17 points and nine rebounds in 35 minutes. Jordan Siebert and Vee Sanford each contributed off the bench with 13 points.

The Colonials come home on Wednesday to face Duquesne. Dayton meanwhile will travel to George Mason.

Marc Jean-Louis can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @marc_jean93.