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GAME DAY vs. Fordham Rams 2/18/2012 Chaifetz Arena
Saturday, February 18, 2012
SLU Billikens vs. Fordham Rams Players to keep an eye on
Billikens stomp on the Spiders
Mike McCall Jr., sophomore Saint Louis, G
By CHARLES BOWLES Associate Sports Editor
Stats as of Tuesday, February 14
The Billikens were not tangled in the Richmond Spiders’ web as they defeated the Spiders 64-50. The Bills (21-5, 9-3 Atlantic 10) have won their fifth-straight game and continue to hold their second place position in the A-10 Conference standings. Cody Ellis led the team with 14 points. Kwamain Mitchell had 11 points and Mike McCall Jr., scored 10 points. Off the bench, Cory Remekun contributed 9 points in 15 minutes. “We did not play as smart of a game on the defensive and the offensive end, but we were pretty fortunate that they did not make some of their three pointers,” Head Coach Rick Majerus said. The Bills started off on with the early 5-0 lead thanks to an early Rob Loe 3-pointer. The Spiders quickly came within 1 point, but never gained possession of the lead. The game would remain close until after the 8:00 media timeout. Then the Bills went on a 7-2 run to extend lead to an 8-point advantage, 23-15. Near the end of the first half, the Bills went 6-0 to extend their lead into double-digits 31-19, but Richmond scored a quick basket and made a free throw to cut the lead back into single digits and give SLU a 9-point advantage going into halftime, 31-22. The Bills came out a bit slow in the second half and allowed Richmond to cut the lead to 7 points. SLU responded by having a 7-3 run which extended the lead back into double-digits, 40-29. However, the Spiders responded with a quick 5-0 run to cut the Billikens’ lead down to 6 points. The Spiders were not done as they continued to pick away at the Billiken lead as until the lead was at just 3 points. The Spiders had an opportunity to take the lead with 6:24 left in the game but missed the 3-point attempt that would have tied the game. On the breakaway, Jordair Jett missed a layup, but Cory Remekun had a monster dunk that shifted the momentum back to SLU as the Bills took a 5-point lead. After the dunk, the Spiders could not respond and slowly shriveled under the pressure of the Billikens defense. After a SLU timeout, the Bills went on a 11-2 run that sealed the game for the Billikens as the put their lead into double-digits for the final time. From there, the Bills just added to their lead with a large number of free throws. “That game was a bit like pulling teeth. It was very scrappy. We have to come out tomorrow and have a good another good practice and keep improving upon what we are doing,” Ellis said. After tonight’s game, attendance broke 100,000 for the season and there are still two home games left in the season. The Billikens will play their next game against Fordham on Saturday, Feb. 18 at 3 p.m. central time at Chaifetz Arena.
McCall started his first game this season against St. Bonaventure on Feb. 1, and since then he has averaged 9.6 points and 2.2 assists per game. He has shot 51.8 percent from the field in those five games. Branden Frazier, sophomore Fordham, G Frazier is averaging 11.8 points per game and a team best 4.0 assists per game thusfar this season. He has struggled his last three games, averaging just 6.3 points, so look for him to explode against the Bills. Dwayne Evans, sophomore Saint Louis, F Evans recorded his team-leading fourth double-double against La Salle on Feb. 11. This season he is averaging 7.5 points and 7.1 rebounds per game, making him both an offensive and defensive threat to the Rams. Chris Gaston, junior Fordham, F
Ryan Doan / Photographer
Sophomore Mike McCall Jr., leaps for a layup against Richmond’s Kendall Anthony. The Billikens defeated the Spiders last Wednesday at Chaifetz Arena. McCall finished the game with 10 points.
Gaston is Fordham’s leading scorer averaging 16.4 points per game. He has been on a tear recently scoring greater than 23 points in his last three games thanks to shooting 42.9 percent from behind the arch.
Men’s basketball’s unsung heroes Managers embrace their behind-the-scenes role on a six-day road trip to play Saint Joseph’s and La Salle. “It is stressful because a lot of times it involves going to places that you are not familiar with, but Setting up film, taping the floor to the coach’s I still enjoy it because I get an opportunity to visit specifications, getting the proper practice jer- other towns,” Pitlyk said. seys, filling water bottles and doing laundry. On the road, the managers have other tasks, These are just some of the tasks that the five like keeping track of all the players’ bags, ordermen’s basketball managers do an hour before ing food for players, doing laundry and other the basketball team arrives. such tasks. Charles Nishida, Kevin Menos, Matt Marske, Both Pitlyk and Flint have previous basketBrad Pitlyk and Billy Flint are ball managing experience. the Billiken basketball managPitlyk even played basketball ers. While their names may not in high school, but stopped be listed on the official rosplaying due to back spasms. ter, they all play a vital role in One of the benefits of the This job is tough, assisting the basketball team job is that the managers have but it is worth it. throughout the season. a personal relationship with “This job is tough, but it is many of the basketball playworth it. You get to work with You get to work with ers off the court. The mana really good group of guys,” agers hang out with some a really good group Pitlyk said. players, eat dinner and work These managers work very of guys. with them during off days. closely with the basketball “You see them every day, team, from practice to traveling -Brad Pitlyk, manager and I have handshakes with on the road. During practices, half of the team,” Flint said. two or three of them will hand out water bottles, One of the more interesting stories from the clean the floors and do other tasks to ensure that season actually involves Flint as he was doing practice runs smoothly. One of the managers will laundry for the team while they were in New be filming the practice so the coaches can review Mexico. video and work on designing plays for upcoming “I was doing laundry, and I got locked inside games. the laundry room. I was trapped in the room, Another difficult task for the managers, like and then I called Gus Gehlen, but he could not the players, is they have to travel on the road with get me out. They finally called maintenance, who the team. Recently, the team was in Philadelphia had to chisel the door, and it took them 30 minBy CHARLES BOWLES Associate Sports Editor
“ You can’t look at a team’s record in
this league here. Anyone can beat anybody, 1 through 14, and does so with a degree of regularity. This league here is a parody situation.
— Rick Majerus, head coach, Saint Louis Billikens
utes to get the door open,” Flint said. Flint and the team’s laundry were saved from the dreaded New Mexico hotel laundry room. Another notable story was when the team was in Cincinnati getting ice cream for Dwyane Evans’ birthday when the managers and the players and managers noticed an ice rink outside the ice cream store. “The guys were messing with Jimmy [Remke] and they bet Jimmy that he could not run across the ice in five seconds. He asked Dwayne if he could try it, and Dwayne said he could try, and so he is running toward me and he clearly is not going to make it, so Jimmy dove to complete the task, but accidently rank into the boards,” Pitlyk said. Off the court, the five managers maintain a close relationship. They have an intramural team and hang out outside of the basketball. These five put in a lot of work to help ensure that basketball team is prepared on the court. “We work with Rachel [Bechert] and Gina [Trapini], who both help us out as the administrative assistants for the basketball team. They are both awesome,” Pitlyk said. Certainly, these managers have an extremely difficult job: waking up early to set up for practice, aiding the team on the road and working the various jobs that they have to do each and every day. However, they all seem to enjoy their work and the benefits. “It is a lot of hard work, and there are a lot of times when you are tired at the end of the day, but there are a lot of cool things and experiences that you have when you do this,” Flint said.
“Then I saw another big guy come
over and I knew he was going to block me, so I just jumped as high as I could and I made the basket. It was a big adrenaline rush.
Cory Remekun, forward, on his dunk — against La Salle University
The Feb. 18 edition of GAME DAY.