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The St. Louis Billikens have advanced to the quarterfinals of the Atlantic-10 Conference Tournament after getting past Richmond with a 71 – 68 win in the final game of the 2nd round on Thursday night.
They’ll now get to take on the Dayton Flyers on Friday night as a reward, although the two teams split their season series during A-10 play with home wins coming for each program.
The Flyers secured the 3-seed for the event after a 13 – 5 conference record, with a 21 – 10 overall record to show for the campaign that ended with 5 wins from their last 6 games of the regular season.
The Billikens got a standout performance from Hasahn French, who came away with 22 points after only averaging 9.2 for the regular season, as likely contributors Javon Bess and Tramaine Isabell Jr.combined for 31 points to help St. Louis advance.
Billikens Chasing First Semifinal Appearance At A-10 Tourney since 2013
The Billikens have gone out of the A-10 Conference Tourney before even reaching the quarterfinals over the last few seasons, and they haven’t seen the semis since way back in 2013 when they went on to win the trophy right here in Brooklyn, NY.
St. Louis didn’t exactly make it look easy in advancing past Richmond yesterday, as the Spiders carried a 36 – 30 halftime lead and let it slip away in the second-half being outscored by the Billikens 41 – 32 in the second stanza.
Hasahn French led all players on the night with 22 surprising points, being that he only scored more than 20 points once all season which came way back January 9 against UMass as conference play was just getting underway.
Leading scorer Javon Bess came away with 14 points and 6 boards, although he missed 5 of his 6 attempts from behind the arc on a 4 of 9 shooting night.
Tramaine Isabell Jr. found his way to 17 points while handing out 5 assists, as he went 3 of 6 from distance and converted 7 of 13 from the floor.
Flyers Building On 2nd Year Head Coach Anthony Grant’s Plan
Dayton finished 14 – 17 and 8 – 10 in conference play last year in Coach Grant’s first season with the Flyers, but he has obviously got his message across in a positive way after leading the team to a 20-win campaign in year 2.
Freshman forward Obadiah Toppin ended the season as the Flyers leading scorer, as he took in 14.4 PPG to go along with 5.6 boards and just under 2 assists a contest. Toppin picked up 5 double-doubles over the course of the season and put up double-digits in his last 14 games headed to the conference tourney.
Senior forward Josh Cunningham came away with 13.8 PPG, snatched 6.4 boards a night, and how is this for a deceiving stat. Both Toppin and Cunningham shoot the 3-ball extremely well, right? Toppin shoots 50% and Cunningham hits 46.2% from behind the arc for the Flyers. I think the two took, like, 24 3s combined so uh, they will have zero influence from outside tonight.
Sophomore guard Jalen Crutcher brought in 13 PPG over the regular season, as he offered 5.7 assists to his teammates as well. Crutcher’s only double-double of the year came in the next to final game of the regular season, as he put up 11 points and grabbed 12 boards against La Salle, although never had more than 8 boards in any other game this year.
• Flyers are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 vs. Atlantic 10.
• Over is 5-2 in Flyers last 7 neutral site games.
• Over is 3-1-1 in the last 5 meetings.
• Billikens are 3-8 ATS in their last 11 Friday games.
• Billikens are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 neutral site games.
• Under is 5-2-1 in Billikens last 8 vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
We enjoyed covering the Spiders against St. Louis, and now we will enjoy watching the Billikens be sent home by the Flyers tonight.
The St. Louis season might appear decent to some, but if you read my preview for the Richmond game, you know better now!
Fade Le Billiken!
Full-Game Total Pick
The Over will be the play when the line comes out, so don’t be afraid to take a Billikens total to go Over, especially with how last night’s total came in over the number.
It happens again tonight, as the Billikens get handed a 74 – 68 loss to end their run in the Big Apple.