Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

By Overtime, Billikens Get It Slu Finally Plays Spoonball, Tops Smsu 75-65

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

By Overtime, Billikens Get It Slu Finally Plays Spoonball, Tops Smsu 75-65

Article excerpt

St. Louis University's Carlos McCauley bumped and checked better than a lot of guys wearing Blues hockey uniforms.

Corey Frazier recovered from a defensive lapse and, using a combination of basketball savvy and sheer gift from God, skied for a key block.

Jamall Walker wisely anticipated a pass, stepped up for a steal and turned it into three points.

Finally, after 26 1/2 minutes - nay, 9 1/2 games - of wandering and groping, the Billikens figured out the secret of Spoonball on Saturday afternoon. They played defense with all the gusto of a team clinging to precious little else. And they uncovered a 75-65 overtime victory over Southwest Missouri State at Kiel Center.

"We got to a point where we figured out if we didn't do something on the defensive end, we were never going to get anything on the offensive end," coach Charlie Spoonhour said.

He's been preaching that - loudly, sometimes - for about 2 1/2 months.

"We had some good moments on defense," said McCauley, a four-year veteran of Spoonball. "We still can improve it to a point. They got way too many easy baskets."

The Billikens (8-2) extended their winning streak to six games before a paid crowd of 17,916. They will welcome Louisville to Kiel on Wednesday in the Conference USA opener.

Are they ready?

The Bills still are shooting below average from the field - 38 percent Saturday. Their rebounding needs help. They are searching for good play from the small forward spot. They struggle from the free throw line, particularly in the first half.

In fact, they're struggling all the way around in opening halves.

"We were like that last year," junior Jeff Harris said. "We'd better not do that in conference games, or it will be over at halftime."

The Bills had trouble in the final minutes of Saturday's regulation, too.

They led by seven with 5 1/2 minutes remaining. Then SLU missed six shots from the field and one from the line, and committed three turnovers down the stretch.

The Billikens still led 56-54 with 12 seconds remaining. Johnny Epps heaved a 28-footer that fell short for the Bears (5-4). Ryan Bettenhausen scooted under the basket, caught the air ball and scored, sending the game into overtime. …

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