Saint Louis tops Oregon State

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ST. LOUIS – Saint Louis senior guard Javon Bess pumped in a career-high 24 points and was a key contributor to the Billikens’ lockdown defense as SLU posted a 65-61 win over Oregon State on Sunday afternoon at Chaifetz Arena.

The win moves SLU to 7-2 overall and is another quality win on the Billikens’ resume. SLU also posted victories at Seton Hall and against Butler earlier this year. Oregon State dips to 6-2 with the loss.

Bess was 9-of-16 from the field and 3-of-7 from the arc. He also registered five steals, which tied a career high. Bess helped hold Oregon State leading scorers Tres Tinkle and Stephen Thompson Jr. to well below their averages.

Freshman guard Fred Thatch Jr., who started in place of Tramaine Isabell Jr. (leg injury), scored a career-high 16 points thanks in part to four 3-pointers, several of them clutch shots in the second half. Freshman forward Carte’Are Gordon registered 11 points for SLU, which for some of the game had four freshman on the floor against the Beavers.

The Billiken defense held Oregon State to 27.3 percent shooting from 3-point range. In the second half, the Beavers shot just 33.3 percent from the field.

Meanwhile, SLU had its best shooting game of the season from 3-point range, connecting on 8-of-12 from beyond the arc. The Billikens were able to overcome a 46.9 percent (15-of-32) output from the free-throw line.

Oregon State went up 6-0 at the outset to force a quick SLU timeout. That would be the Beavers’ largest lead of the game, however, as the Billikens responded with a 9-0 run to take the lead. SLU grew its lead to as many six in the first half and led by four at halftime.

SLU led by 12 with 12 minutes remaining in the contest before the Beavers began to chip away at the deficit. Oregon State used a 9-0 run at one point in the second half and led 53-50 with less than six minutes remaining.

A D.J. Foreman free throw and a Thatch 3-pointer put the Billikens back on top. Thatch hit another triple at the 2:31 mark, and Bess followed with a jumper to make it 62-56 SLU, and the Billikens hung on down the stretch to post the victory.

Saint Louis does not play a midweek game and is back in action next Sunday in a key nonconference matchup at Houston. The Cougars are 8-0 entering their game Wednesday night against LSU.

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