Saint Louis tops UMass, gets double-bye in A-10 Men’s Basketball Championship

Courtesy of SLUBillikens.com

ST. LOUIS – Saint Louis equaled its season scoring high in Atlantic 10 Conference play and concluded the regular season with a 78-57 victory over Massachusetts Monday at Chaifetz Arena.

The win lifted the Billikens, who held UMass to a season scoring low, to 13-5 overall and 6-4 in the A-10. The Minutemen fell to 7-6, 6-4.

The victory, coupled with a Saint Joseph’s win at Richmond, vaulted the Billikens to the No. 4 seed and a double-bye for this week’s A-10 Championship. The Billikens open play in the tourney Friday, March 5, in the quarterfinals at the Robins Center in Richmond, Va. Game time will be Noon (CT), with the opponent to be determined.

The 2021 A-10 Men’s Basketball Championship bracket can be viewed here.

Javonte Perkins tied for game-high scoring honors with 16 points and was joined in double figures by Jordan Goodwin (13), Fred Thatch Jr. (season-high 13), Hasahn French (12) and Terrence Hargrove Jr. (10).

Goodwin grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds to complete his 36th career double-double and 13th of the season. He added a game-high and season-high-tying eight assists.

The Billikens shot 50 percent (30-of-60) from the floor overall, 60 percent (6-of-10) from 3-point range and 80 percent (12-of-15) from the foul line, and they out-rebounded UMass 36-23.

Noah Fernandes tossed in 16 points for UMass, and Carl Pierre added 12. Tre Mitchell, who came in averaging a team-high 18.9 points, was held to 10.

Goodwin, who tallied 13 points in the opening half, drilled a 3-pointer on Saint Louis’ first possession to give the Billikens a lead they relinquished only when UMass pulled even at 7-7 and 11-11.

A 7-0 spurt put the Bills on top 18-11. UMass cut the margin to three on several occasions, but SLU scored on its next possession each time.

The Billikens led 28-24 when they began to pull away. Marten Linssen scored all six of his points during a 14-7 run over the final 4:28, and Saint Louis took a 42-31 cushion to the locker room. It was SLU’s highest-scoring first half in a conference game this season.

Perkins buried a trey and French made a layup early in the second half to quickly expand the lead to 47-31. UMass outscored SLU 12-5 to shrink the lead to single digits, 52-43, but that turned out to be the last hope for the Minutemen.

Perkins started and ended a 13-0 outburst that also included five points from Thatch Jr. and four points from French, and the Billikens held a commanding 65-43 lead with 8:36 remaining.

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