MEMPHIS — The Saint Louis University Billikens lost to the Memphis Tigers, 90-74, Tuesday night, dropping their previously undefeated record to 3-1.
On the surface, a double-digit loss doesn’t look great, but, let’s be honest, it was expected when faced with a ranked-road matchup, right?
Any road matchup against a ranked opponent spells trouble — or opportunity for the optimistic fan out there — for any team. The Billikens were no different, but fans learned a lot about their team in its first loss of the year.
THE TURNOVER GAME: The Billikens won the turnover battle 24-14. Scrappy, defensive teams typically perform well late in the season. If you can win the turnover battle, you can win the game… (CONTINUE)
OFF NIGHT: Unless you shoot poorly. Memphis outperformed SLU in the shooting-percentage game by over 20 percent. The Tigers shot an astounding 54.4 percent from the field, including 47.1 percent from three. Compare that to the Billikens 31.2 percent from the field and 22.7 percent from three and you have yourself a classic “Off night.” For context, the Billikens haven’t shot below 49 percent from the field all season. Not to mention, the Billikens outshot the Tigers 77-57 (A couple more fall, and who knows?) “Off nights” won’t happen too often (hopefully), so Billikens fans can look forward to a better shooting performance moving forward.
PRODUCTION FROM THE CAST: To this point, SLU has been run by the Gibson Jimerson show (18.7 ppg). Last night was a different story (more on that later), but every great show needs a supporting cast. Terrence Hargrove Jr. played quite the supporting role, posting an impressive double-double on 20 points and 11 rebounds. The more involvement across the floor, the more wins SLU fans can expect.
BOARD GAME STRONG: Memphis is a big, physical team, featuring three guys standing over 6’9 in its starting lineup. Regardless, SLU managed to hang around the rebound battle, fall just short of the Tigers’ boards 48-44. Not bad for an unranked team on the road, right?
GIBSON GONE: There’s a big difference between an “off night” and a “no-show.” SLU’s leading scorer Gibson Jimerson played the latter against Memphis. Coming into the game averaging nearly 19 points per game and being held to just six points isn’t the worst thing in the world when faced with a tough matchup early in the season. BUT coming into the game averaging nearly 19 points per game and being held to just three shots in a game is concerning.
BLOCK PARTY: There’s physical play, and there’s a middle schooler embarrassing some elementary school kids on the concrete-top playground courts. Memphis looked a lot like the eighth-grader last night, amassing 14 blocks against the Billikens. That’s a lot of rejections for one night. SLU will need to find better shots as the season moves on.
THE PRESS: The first 9-11 minutes saw a relatively tight ball game in Memphis… Then the press happened. SLU struggled to handle the speed and athleticism on display when Memphis turned to its full-court press. That’s how plenty of top-tier teams beat you. If you can’t beat the press, good luck against the best!