Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Road Holds the Key to St. Louis U. Season

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Road Holds the Key to St. Louis U. Season

Article excerpt

Winning on the road in the Atlantic 10 became a more difficult proposition this season, although the reasons are not clear.

For St. Louis University, the challenges of the road in the A-10 have been known the past four seasons. As the Billikens head into Philadelphia for Wednesday night's meeting with St. Joseph's, they do so in the face of a challenging trend.

Home teams have won at a 72.6 percent clip thus far in the A-10 after winning only 57 percent of the time last season. The Billikens know that to continue to climb the standings, they will need more than the one road win they picked up at Massachusetts.

"It started from day one in the league," coach Travis Ford said. "In the first couple of sets of games, there were only one or two road wins. So yeah, it's tough. We've let a couple slip at home, so we have to figure out how to get something back."

The Billikens' last trip resulted in a lopsided win over Massachusetts. However, since the program's last appearance in the NCAA Tournament, SLU is 4-27 in A-10 road games.

SLU has won five times at St. Joseph's, although the Billikens lost on their last visit to Hagan Arena. The Hawks are 7-1 at home with the only loss coming against No. 1 Villanova.

The Billikens left St. Louis on Tuesday with the same eight players who have participated in every game this season. It's that group that has gone 4-5 in the conference, good for a middle-of-the-pack position at the halfway point.

The second half of A-10 play will have five games on the road and four at home.

"If you want to climb and get into the top three or four, you always see the top four won at least three or four road games," Ford said. "I think this year might be a little different. You'd better win at home as much as you can. If you get some road wins and hold your own at home, it puts you in position to move up the ladder."

SLU has won in two road venues in the league since the 2014-15 season twice at UMass and twice at George Mason.

According to data from the Collegiate Basketball News, St. Joseph's ranks No. 60 in the country for winning percentage at its current arena at .738. And 10 teams in the A-10 have a home winning percentage in their arena that is in the upper 50 percent. …

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