Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Freshmen Spark SLU to Victory; SLU 69, Indiana State 56; Dunk by Yarbrough Sparks Late Surge; COLLEGE BASKETBALL

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Freshmen Spark SLU to Victory; SLU 69, Indiana State 56; Dunk by Yarbrough Sparks Late Surge; COLLEGE BASKETBALL

Article excerpt

TERRE HAUTE, IND. * Somehow during one of the worst shooting stretches imaginable Tuesday night, St. Louis University not only kept itself in a game but overcame what had been a 12-point deficit.

Then when a string of 14 consecutive missed shots finally ended, the Billikens took control in their oddly constructed and occasionally painful 69-56 win over Indiana State.

Among the oddities for SLU was a 13-minute stretch without a field goal, a 17-8 run built entirely with free throws and a run of 21 consecutive points by freshmen as the Billikens pulled away.

SLU was unsightly at times offensively for the first 29 minutes before exploding down the stretch after a dunk by freshman Milik Yarbrough ignited the team.

"Oh, kids like those dunks, don't they?" coach Jim Crews said. "Maybe we were just so excited we scored a bucket. We were excited we stopped the run. Our defense kept us in the game because we were hot or cold. We went from one extreme to another."

The Billikens made 11 of their final 17 shots and that was only good enough to get them to 36.4 percent. But they held the Sycamores (1-1) to 32.8 percent and Indiana State struggled from long distance, making five of 25 3-pointers.

Guard Ash Yacoubou led SLU with 15 points, but it was Yarbrough's 11 points that were the catalyst. Playing inside for the injured Grandy Glaze, the 6-foot-6 forward capitalized on his dunk by scoring all of his points in a five-minute stretch as the lead grew from three to 12 points.

Among SLU's six freshmen, Yarbrough was the biggest scorer coming out of high school, averaging 25 as a senior, and showed why in a burst.

"It doesn't take much for me to get going," he said. "I just knew (Crews) wanted me to come in with energy. He always tells me once I get my motor going I'm going to be an elite athlete."

The first-half spark came from sophomore Reggie Agbeko, who was sitting on the bench watching Indiana State dominate the offensive boards for numerous second-chance opportunities.

His appearance stemmed the tide as he grabbed four quick defensive boards while the Billikens were in the midst of fighting back from what had been a 10-0 lead for the Sycamores.

"We had to get the jitters out," Agbeko said. "We needed a spark to get everybody comfortable, and I'm glad I came into the game and helped do that."

Indiana State's hot start eventually led to a 12-point lead. After cutting the deficit to 27-21, the Billikens began their game- saving journey to the free-throw line.

Mike Crawford's free throw with 3:39 left in the first half marked the first of 17 consecutive points from the line by six players. During that stretch, Indiana State made four field goals and SLU inched ahead 38-35 with 11:17 remaining.

The revelation about the free throws was news to Crews.

"I didn't see it tonight, so I guess I have to say I've never seen that before," he said. "But you're getting to the line because you're doing something positive, so that's a good thing. …

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