Originally posted on Fox Sports Midwest  |  Last updated 1/10/13
Courtesy: SLU Athletics SETTING THE SCENE Saint Louis (11-3) opens Atlantic 10 Conference play Thursday when UMass (10-3) visits Chaifetz Arena. Game time is scheduled for 8 p.m. PROMOTIONS During games through the holiday break, current SLU students with a valid SLU ID may bring one guest to a game, free of charge. Chaifetz Arena offers special "happy hour" deals for fans arriving early to games. From the opening of doors (two hours before tip) until 30 minutes before game time, fans can take advantage of 2 nachos and 2 beers. LAST TIME OUT Mike McCall Jr. scored a game-high 17 points, and Saint Louis survived a second-half scare from Savannah State to post a 67-59 victory over the Tigers Jan. 4 at Chaifetz Arena. McCall Jr., who entered the game second in the Atlantic 10 Conference in 3-point field goal shooting at 50 percent, was 3-of-5 from beyond the arc, 5-of-7 overall and 4-of-4 from the foul line. Cody Ellis was 3-of-4 from beyond the arc and 6-of-7 from the stripe in his 15-point performance. Kwamain Mitchell used an 8-of-9 effort from the free-throw line to help him tally a season-high 13 points, and he tied for game-high honors with four assists. Cory Remekun collected 10 points and a team-high seven rebounds, while Jordair Jett chipped in eight points and three assists. SLU sank a season-high 25 free throws and outscored Savannah State 25-10 at the stripe. The Bills shot 80.6 percent (25-of-31) from the line, their best mark since connecting on 86.4 percent against USC Upstate in the season opener. The Billikens also were dominant from beyond the arc, netting 8-of-17 from distance to Savannah State's 1-of-5. BILLIKEN NOTABLES The Billikens have won eight in a row and enter Thursday night's game 11-3 overall. This is the final game of a nine-game homestand. A win tonight would give the Billikens their first nine-game winning streak since winning 14 straight to start the 1993-94 season. The Bills lead the A-10 in scoring defense, yielding 55.0 ppg. SLU allowed 46 or fewer points in four straight games recently, the best defensive streak by SLU 1949-50. Junior guard Mike McCall Jr. leads the Billikens in scoring with 12.1 ppg. He tops the team and is second in the A-10 in 3-point field goal percentage (.509, 28-55). Senior forward Cody Ellis is second on the squad in scoring (11.1 ppg) and second in rebounding (3.8 rpg). He hits 90.4 percent from the free-throw line to rank 2nd in the A-10. He has drawn a team-leading 23 charges. Junior forward Dwayne Evans is third on the squad in scoring (11.0 ppg) and leads the team in rebounding (6.8 rpg). Junior guard Jordair Jett averages 8.8 ppg and boasts a .527 (48-91) shooting clip from the field. Senior forward Cory Remekun leads the team in blocked shots (23, 1.9 bpg). He leads the A-10 in shooting percentage (.673) from the floor. Senior guard Kwamain Mitchell has started the last three games after missing the first 11 games with a foot injury. Junior guard Mike McCall Jr. and senior guard Kwamain Mitchell were named to the Cousy Award watch list. The Cousy Award is given to the nation's top collegiate point guard. Saint Louis is one of five schools to have multiple players on the watch list. SLU shoots 45.8 percent (294-642) from the floor, 36.4 percent (82-225) from 3-point range and 72.4 percent (186-257) from the line. Next up, Saint Louis travels to Philadelphia to take on Temple at the Liacouras Center. Game time is slated for 5 p.m. (CT). The game will be televised on ESPNU, with Adam Amin and Brooke Weisbrod calling the action. ABOUT UMASS The University of Massachusetts Minutemen enter Thursday night's game 10-3. Like the Billikens, UMass is also sporting a winning streak. The Minutemen have won seven in a row for the first time since they won their first seven games of the 2010-11 season. Junior guard Chaz Williams leads the team with 15.5 ppg. He dishes out 7.4 assists per game to lead the Atlantic 10 Conference and rank seventh nationally. A first-team All-Conference performer last year after scoring 16.9 ppg, Williams also leads the team with 25 steals. Junior guard Jesse Morgan scores 14.5 ppg and has buried a team-high 37 treys, which is fifth in the league. Senior forward Terrell Vinson scores 11.5 ppg and pulls down 5.0 rpg. Sophomore forward Maxie Esho is the team leader with 5.4 rpg, while sophomore forwardcenter Cady Lalanne has 5.3 rpg. Massachusetts is fourth in the A-10 in scoring offense with 72.8 ppg. The Minutemen shoot 40.9 percent from the field, 31.3 percent from 3-point range and 70.7 percent from the line. UMass is tied for third in the league with 8.6 steals per contest. UMass has won seven consecutive road games dating to the postseason NIT run last year. Derek Kellogg is in his fifth season as the head coach at the University of Massachusetts, his first head-coaching stop. Kellogg was a point guard for coach John Calipari at UMass from 1992-95. Prior to becoming head coach at UMass, he spent eight seasons at Memphis as an assistant coach under Calipari. UMass' win totals under Kellogg have gone 12, 12, 15 and 25. SERIES Saint Louis leads the all-time series 7-4. SLU topped UMass 51-46 in the 1998 NCAA Tournament. Last year, UMass prevailed 72-59 at the Mullins Center in Amherst.
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