Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

SLU Falls 62-57 as Alabama Scores Final 11 Points

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

SLU Falls 62-57 as Alabama Scores Final 11 Points

Article excerpt

LAS VEGAS * After watching St. Louis University collapse in the final 10 minutes against BYU, coach Travis Ford saw glimpses of something different Wednesday night against Alabama.

The Billikens clamped down on defense, hit big shots and built a nine-point lead with just over five minutes remaining at the Grand Garden in the consolation game of the MGM Main Event.

However, they couldn't escape a repeat performance of the late- game blues.

The Crimson Tide buried a flurry of 3-pointers and scored the final 11 points in the last two minutes to pull out a 62-57 win over SLU.

"I told the guys I take responsibility," Ford said. "I've got to get them through as they learn to win. Part of the process is learning to win. Being in a game like this is good for us, and I wish I'd done a better job of getting them through it."

Aside from Alabama's late surge, the biggest problem for SLU (2- 3) was turnovers. The Billikens had 14 in the second half after a fairly clean first half. The final stretch turned into one gaffe after another.

Thus, the chance for the season's first significant win disappeared in a flash after SLU outplayed Alabama (3-2) for most of the game.

Ford had addressed the need to finish strong in the wake of the BYU game, which saw a five-point game become a 30-point margin.

"We've just got to close games better," guard Davell Roby said. "I don't even know what happened, it happened so fast. They started making shots and put guys in the right spots to make those shots. They played better than us the last three minutes. I don't think it was panic. We just have younger guys that haven't been through those moments."

SLU led 54-45 with 5 minutes 26 seconds remaining before two Alabama 3-pointers. The Billikens still were ahead 57-51 as the clock dipped under two minutes. Then Braxton Key made his second 3 of the late push and Shannon Hale tied the game with a 3 with 1:40 remaining.

Meanwhile, SLU made one mistake after another. …

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