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1/09/2023 7:52 pm  #1

GW vs Saint Louis Game Thread

Next up a big task, vs 10-6  Saint Louis

With the #76 KenPom, this will be a tough test for GW off their impressive win against UMASS. 

Fueling their 76 KenPom were some impressive OOC wins over teams like Memphis (#36)  and Providence  (#30) 

Larry Hughes Jr was one of Travis Ford's big recruits this year, his Dad had an incredible Freshman year for Saint Louis, leading to being picked 8th overall in the 1998 NBA draft

Does GW pull off the upset to improve to 3-1 in League play???

Last edited by The Dude (1/09/2023 8:11 pm)


1/14/2023 1:36 am  #2

Re: GW vs Saint Louis Game Thread

St. Louis Billikens

Date/Time: Saturday January 14th @ 4:00 PM ET at The Charles E. Smith Center in Washington, DC.
TV: NBC Sports Washington / ESPN+
Preseason Ranks: 39th (KenPom), 41st (Bart Torvik), 31st (Sports Illustrated)
2021-22 Record: 23-12, 12-6 (5th in A10)
2022-23 Projected Record: 19-12, 11-7 (T-3rd in A10)

Head-to-Head: 9-12, and the Billikens have come out on top in the last 5 meetings. In last season's 80-67 loss at Chaifetz, we went into halftime trailing by 13 and were never able to make up the deficit in the second half. Stop me if you've heard this before, but we did enough offensively to get the win. GW finished the game shooting 44% from the field and from 3 to go with 78% from the FT line. We could have probably been a bit more efficient from inside the arc and finished with more assists than turnovers, but for the most part the team did their job on that end. Unfortunately, SLU basically put up 40 points in each half despite going to the FT line fewer times than GW and shooting a mediocre 32% from distance. The one glaring problem over the past couple years has been our inability to protect the rim down low and the Billikens finished shooting 51% on their near-proximity attempts. They also outrebounded us by 10 and finished with just 8 turnovers. Even with our major defensive shortcomings, hopefully we can make things a bit tougher tomorrow afternoon. JB led the way with 30 points on 4 made threes while Joe added 18. Hunter failed to score but did post a solid 10 rebound performance.

Offensive Efficiency: 46th (KenPom), 57th (Bart Torvik)
Defensive Efficiency: 145th (KenPom), 183rd (Bart Torvik)
Pace: 94th (KenPom), 90th (Bart Torvik)
Offensive Shot Quality Rank: 46th
Defensive Shot Quality Rank: 165th
Rim & 3 Rate: 79% (138th)

Strengths (OOC Play):
Rebounds Per Game (9th)
Defensive Rebounds Per Game (T-14th)
Free Throw Percentage (25th)
Assist Turnover Ratio (31st)
Field Goal Percentage Defense (37th)
Assists Per Game (T-41st)
Rebound Margin (45th)
Turnovers Per Game (T-47th)
Offensive Rebounds Per Game (T-54th)
Fastbreak Points (65th)
Free Throws Made Per Game (T-80th)

Weaknesses (OOC Play):
Three Point Percentage (T-263rd)
Turnover Margin (282nd)
Steals Per Game (T-341st)
Turnovers Forced Per Game (344th)

Key Returning Players:
Gibson Jimerson (RS Sophomore; Richmond, VA) 16.3 ppg, 2.3 rpg; 45% FG, 42% 3-PT, 83% FT
      Last Season @ St. Louis: 28 points, 4 rebounds; 11-20 FG, 6-11 3-PT in 31 minutes.

Yuri Collins (Junior; St. Louis, MO) 11.1 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 7.9 apg, 1.9 spg; 45% FG, 36% 3-PT, 82% FT
​      Last Season @ St. Louis: 11 points, 5 rebounds, 12 assists, 2 steals; 5-5 FG, 1-1 FT in 31 minutes.

Francis Okoro (Senior; Imo, Nigeria) 10.8 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 1.2 bpg; 59% FG, 77% FT
​      Last Season @ St. Louis: 22 points, 11 rebounds; 9-14 FG, 4-4 FT in 24 minutes.

Fred Thatch Jr. (RS Junior; Sikeston, MO) 9.3 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 1.6 apg, 1.1 spg; 47% FG, 35% 3-PT, 72% FT
​      Last Season @ St. Louis: 2 points, 5 rebounds, 3 blocks; 1-4 FG in 29 minutes.

Terrence Hargrove Jr. (Junior; East St. Louis, IL) 6.7 ppg, 4.2 rpg; 42% FG, 35% 3-PT, 50% FT
​      Last Season @ St. Louis: Didn't score. 0-5 FG, 0-3 3-PT.

Key Losses:
Jordan Nesbitt (Transferred to Hampton; St. Louis, MO) 8.2 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 1.2 apg; 39% FG, 34% 3-PT, 69% FT
Marten Linssen (Left Early for Pro Career; Dusseldorf, Germany) 7 ppg, 3.7 rpg; 54% FG, 77% FT

Travis Ford enters his 7th year with the St. Louis Billikens and 10th overall as coach at an A10 school (he was previously at UMass for three years). After a trying first year when SLU finished 11th, Ford has successfully raised the floor of the program - SLU has finished 6th or higher in the conference the past five years which shows remarkable consistency.

Unfortunately, some coaches are generally graded based on postseason appearances (I personally don't think that's fair, but I get it) and that's an area where Ford and his squad have come up short year after year. As a GW fan during this trying period, I would take making the NIT on an annual basis over what we've had the past five years but when you look at the talent that Ford has been able to assemble at SLU it's hard to categorize the lack of NCAA appearances as anything but a disappointment (even though injuries have played a role). SLU's one NCAA tournament appearance under Ford during the 2018-19 season wasn't an at-large bid either - credit that team for winning four games in four days to get the auto bid because it might have been another letdown of a season otherwise.

Coming into the year, many were predicting the A10 to be a 2-3 bid league with Dayton and SLU getting at-large berths and one of VCU, Loyola, or Mason potentially stealing a third. Looking back now, perhaps those expectations should have raised a red flag as to how successful the league was going to be this year. Every year SLU is in the conversation of making the NCAAs, but this year in particular the Billikens were being looked at as a squad that could carry the conference despite recent history suggesting that's an unrealistic ask.

As mentioned in the Richmond preview, roster continuity can be both a good thing and a bad thing. Having proven production at multiple positions can again raise the floor, but the ceiling may be hit sooner than expected. Now to Ford's credit, SLU isn't exactly "running it back" in full this year. There were a couple of defections but Ford more importantly did add a couple pieces that could on paper inject some extra juice into the program - that is potentially raise the ceiling higher than what Richmond and St. Bonaventure had last year with basically the same exact team.

Early in Ford's tenure, St. Louis was a team built on playing tough, physical defense. When a shot was missed, multiple guys were sent to the glass to get extra opportunities at a made basket and on the other end nothing was made easy when it came to scoring. One of the key statistics that many cited as the reason the Billikens always fell short of their aspirations in the preseason was their free throw shooting. I believe a few years ago SLU had the distinction for having the worst FT shooting team in the country.

Over the past couple of years though SLU's strength has shifted more towards the offensive end. It's hard to say whether Ford finally came to a realization that putting up points is still essential to winning games or that he was forced to make defense an emphasis early on as he worked to gradually raise the talent level needed to build a sustainable program. Regardless, SLU definitely looked like a more well-rounded team during the COVID era than in the years before.

It goes without saying that it's tough to bring in a full team of players that have two-way impacts on both sides of the ball. Thus, one of the effects of an improved offense can be a slightly less physical and impactful defensive unit (again, partly due to the fact that overly committing on that end is no longer a necessity with more scoring). The GW WBB team is an example of this. Although the team's defense is still top 100 good, there's no doubt that side of the ball no longer has to be an absolute priority since the team at least has a few offensively-inclined options who can give the team a bit of a cushion to allow a made shot from the opposition here and there.

This year's SLU team definitely has the makeup of a team that fits this description as well. The Billikens are very efficient when it comes to running their halfcourt offense, led by the best passer in the country and a guy flanking him who is one of the best shooters in the conference. After years of struggling in FT shooting, the addition of more offensive options has certainly helped - in fact, SLU was the 25th best FT shooting team in the country during OOC play. While the team can be prone to coughing the ball up, they are pretty much solid everywhere else which explains them having the best offensive efficiency rating in the A10.

However, despite their rebounding efforts remaining consistent, the Billikens just aren't as good defensively as they used to be. They struggle to turn teams over (344th nationally) and rank similarly in steals per game. That was something that was tough to envision when Goodwin and French graduated (speaking of which, Goodwin has had a solid year with the Wizards this season averaging just a hair under 7 ppg). It will be interesting to see what Ford decides to change up should the Billikens fail to win the conference tournament this year (because let's face it, the A10 is a one-bid league this year).

Anyways, on to this year's SLU squad. The Billikens bring back perhaps their two important pieces from last year's backcourt in Yuri Collins and Gibson Jimerson.

Collins, a preseason first-team all-A10 selection, opted to return to SLU after being rumored to be heading to Knoxville last offseason. He led the nation in assists per game last year itself but has taken it to another level this season - Collins averages over 2 assists more than the #2 player nationally at 11 per game. Against Tennessee State, he set a school record with 20 assists in one game. Since last year, he has also grown as a scorer to keep defenses honest and not allow them to exclusively deny the pass. Collins did not launch a ton of threes last year, but he converted them at a respectable 36% rate. That 3-PT percentage is down this year (27%) but the fact that he has still been able to be a factor as a facilitator just shows the natural talent he has. It's impossible to expect to keep him under 10 assists for the game but I'm sure GW will try. Defensively, he is arguably SLU's peskiest defender and will likely lead the team in steals by the end of the year. Expect Collins to lead the Billikens in minutes as well - he was 58th nationally in minutes during OOC play.

Jimerson (a preseason second-team all-A10 selection) played the 55th most minutes nationally himself last season, although that number is down this year. His best attributes are his shooting figures - he made an astounding 42% of his threes with 87 total made in 2021-22. We saw that in the GW game when he made six in that game alone. While his percentages are slightly down this year, Jimerson has been coming on as of late in conference play and overall he is still putting up pretty good numbers from 3 as the biggest beneficiary of the passing of Collins. We will need to do a better job on him than we did last year.

Other key returners from last year include Francis OkoroFred Thatch Jr., and Terrence Hargrove Jr.

Okoro, a former Oregon Duck and preseason all-A10 third-team selection, was very efficient as a post scorer last year as he converted on nearly 60% of his attempts. He is a skilled player but represents the new-look SLU teams under Ford who aren't as physical. Okoro's numbers are down this year but hopefully we do a better job of limiting him inside and keeping him off the glass after last year although that seems unlikely. He had 22 in the GW game which was his second best output of the year. Okoro will get his share of rebounds (he was 30th best in OOC play) and is a decent rim protector (63rd in blocks per game) but we will need to keep Hunter/Ricky out of foul trouble when going up against him.

Thatch sadly tore his ACL a couple games ago against UMass which not only ended his season but his CBB career as he will be moving on after the year is done. It's terrible to go out like that (I feel for EJ as well) and wish him the best not only in his road to recovery but his post-CBB life as well. Thatch being sidelined hurts SLU even more defensively as he was one of the more disruptive players who could do a bit of everything with his versatility - he had the ability to guard 4's despite being undersized.

Hargrove likely occupies a fourth starting spot alongside Collins, Jimerson, and Okoro especially with Thatch now sidelined. Like Thatch, he is a bit undersized to guard 4's but has been able to hold his own, giving Ford lineup optionality (although he isn't the defender Thatch is). Apart from above average rebounding, Hargrove also made a decent 35% of his 3-PT attempts but that didn't translate to the FT line where he was just 50%. I'm sure he'll look to have a better game against GW as Hargrove was perhaps the only Billiken to struggle in our last meeting.

The final starting spot along the wing will go to Javonte Perkins, a former JUCO and preseason second team all-A10 selection who was 7th in the A10 in scoring two seasons ago. Perkins missed all of last season due to a torn ACL suffered in SLU's exhibition game prior to the season start. That was a massive blow to their postseason aspirations, but to the joy of SLU fans everywhere he opted to come back for a final year. Perkins hasn't been the same guy this year, but can still be good for a scoring outburst on occasion. His splits look a bit like Sherod's last year - under 40% from the field and 30% from 3 which are career lows.

Off the bench, Ford will sub in Mizzou transfer Javon Pickett, Indiana/Temple transfer Jake Forrester, former JUCO Sincere Parker, and true freshman walk-on Larry Hughes Jr. 

Pickett started in SLU's conference opener against St. Joe's but has had a more modest impact since. He is a capable three point shooter (36%) but prefers to slash to the rim using the open driving lanes provided from the attention Collins and Jimerson demand. Pickett is also an 83% FT shooter. Regardless of who is guarding him, we need to do well to stay in front of him and force him to take more jumpers than he would like.

Forrester has honestly had a better season than Okoro thus far. He is very efficient near the rim and is solid from the FT line. Expect him to play around 15-20 minutes and give SLU a spark offensively during that time. Having a big that can do that from off the bench is such a luxury that I'm saddened GW doesn't currently have.

Parker has some shortcomings as a defender but was brought in to be another guy who can provide instant offense from off the bench (I guess the Rashad Williams role from last year that never ended up really working out). So far he's only 24% from deep, but his 94% shooting from the line (on a somewhat small sample) suggests that potential positive regression in his shooting splits is on the horizon. He put up 15 against UMass so we may need to give him more attention if he's feeling it early on when in the game.

Hughes Jr. is the son of NBA legend Larry Hughes who spent 13 years in the NBA and was an All-American at SLU his freshman year. Hughes of course also played a few seasons with the Wizards, which is making me realize just how many players with St. Louis connections have played for Washington over the years. At this point of his career, Hughes Jr. is good for one or two made threes but will probably not do too much otherwise.

This will obviously be a good challenge for the team. GW has shown the ability to get up for games against good competition, and hopefully the week of rest will also help along with the game being at home. SLU isn't particularly great defensively so we should be able to put up points should the shots fall but the question will be whether we can outscore the Billikens. Rebounding and foul trouble will continue to be areas to watch. I would be surprised if we outrebounded SLU but Hunter and Ricky as always will have to stay in the game against Okoro and Forrester. The difference in depth between the two teams is considerable, although I think any issues with conditioning would probably be more of a factor against Mason on Monday on just a day of rest than the SLU game. Winning outright would be nice, but keeping it close would be a success as well.

Projected Score: St. Louis 80, GW 79. 46% chance to win (Bart Torvik). ESPN gives us a 35% chance to improve to 3-1 in conference.


1/14/2023 3:48 pm  #3

Re: GW vs Saint Louis Game Thread

Just saw a post saying Keegan Harvey is out the rest of the year.


1/14/2023 4:09 pm  #4

Re: GW vs Saint Louis Game Thread

Maximus taking flight early

GW 9-8 

8 scholarship players in uniform- no Harvey out with sickness


     Thread Starter

1/14/2023 4:11 pm  #5

Re: GW vs Saint Louis Game Thread

Dean picks up 2 quick fouls. Now he has to sit?


1/14/2023 4:34 pm  #6

Re: GW vs Saint Louis Game Thread

Bishop and BA the best backcourt in the A10?

GW  35-31

     Thread Starter

1/14/2023 4:35 pm  #7

Re: GW vs Saint Louis Game Thread

maybe the best minutes of Brown's career so far 


1/14/2023 4:51 pm  #8

Re: GW vs Saint Louis Game Thread

Brown has been pretty good, but would have been even better if he could have got a couple more of the rebounds that came his way.

GW had SLU on the ropes but unfortunately let them back in with a poor final 1:30 or so…


1/14/2023 4:59 pm  #9

Re: GW vs Saint Louis Game Thread

What happened to Collins? Showed up a bit late and haven’t seen him in the game once.


1/14/2023 5:02 pm  #10

Re: GW vs Saint Louis Game Thread

Man….can Jimmy Patsos talk, or what?


1/14/2023 5:05 pm  #11

Re: GW vs Saint Louis Game Thread

11-0 run to start second half thanks to CC offense is all about launching 3 pt shots.


1/14/2023 5:07 pm  #12

Re: GW vs Saint Louis Game Thread

2nd half they are stinking it up. No D and bad 

2nd half they are coming out brain dead. Bad offence.16 - 0 run for St/ L.



1/14/2023 5:09 pm  #13

Re: GW vs Saint Louis Game Thread

on pace to break SLU's record for fewest points in a half


1/14/2023 5:09 pm  #14

Re: GW vs Saint Louis Game Thread

Bad habits showing up, both offense and defense. On offense, it’s not because they’re shooting 3s, but because they’re shooting bad 3s…


1/14/2023 5:10 pm  #15

Re: GW vs Saint Louis Game Thread

Bishop 2 for 10. GW 4 for 20. Note to CC we aren’t a good 3 pt shooting team.


1/14/2023 5:13 pm  #16

Re: GW vs Saint Louis Game Thread

How bad can you play. 54-39. Shit ball.


1/14/2023 5:15 pm  #17

Re: GW vs Saint Louis Game Thread

DC Native wrote:

Bad habits showing up, both offense and defense. On offense, it’s not because they’re shooting 3s, but because they’re shooting bad 3s…

Same difference


1/14/2023 5:15 pm  #18

Re: GW vs Saint Louis Game Thread

4-16 for Bishop.  WTF. Can't win with this performance.


1/14/2023 5:16 pm  #19

Re: GW vs Saint Louis Game Thread

Good play Adams


1/14/2023 5:17 pm  #20

Re: GW vs Saint Louis Game Thread

25-0 run. Nightmare


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