Originally posted on Fox Sports Midwest  |  Last updated 3/15/13
NEW YORK - The Saint Louis Billikens waltzed into the house that Hova (thats Jay-Z, you guys) built and behind a 25 point, 9 rebound performance by Dwayne Evans, emerged victorious over Charlotte by a score of 72-55 in the second round of the Atlantic 10 tournament in Brooklyn, NY. WHAT YOU REALLY WANT See postgame thoughts from Jim Crews, Mike McCall Jr. and Dwayne Evans below. Its all you really need, isnt it? DWAYNE'S WORLD Throughout the game, Dwayne Evans had his way down low. The 6-5 forward continues to stuff the stat sheet at a ridiculously efficient clip. Evans finished 8-9 from the field and a perfect 9-9 from the charity stripe. The 100 effort at the line is obviously tied for a tournament record, but fell short in the minimum attempts category. Had he attempted and made one more free throw, he would have met the 10 attempt minimum standard and tied the tournament record. It is amazing that Evans continues to get such simple buckets at the rim with his lack of size. He is a bully down low. And as a bonus for the Bills, there seems to be a sense of calm in the offense when the team knows he is option 1-A. SLU is notoriously unselfish and shares the ball, but when Evans gets it going down low it makes SLU even more selective with their shots. Dwayne Evans is the heart and soul of Saint Louis. TWILIGHT ZONE - With just under 5 minutes to play in the first half, Charlotte switched from a half-court man-to-man defense to a full-court press that sank back into a 3-2 zone. Zone defenses have given SLU trouble recently, most notably in the loss to Xavier. The Musketeers junked it up with multiple zone variations throughout the game. It wasnt pretty, but it worked and other teams have taken notice. In theory, playing against a zone shouldnt be a problem for the Billikens with post players like Rob Loe and Cody Ellis always willing and able to launch from deep. And with the ability to load up with four or five sharpshooters at any given time, it would seem like playing zone is no-no for an opponents game plan. But the Billikens have struggled from beyond the arc of late, and teams are trying to capitalize. Since nailing 11 3-pointers in the previous meeting with Charlotte, SLU has gone a combined 37-132 (28) from 3-point land. Most notably, Cody Ellis is just 6-40 in the same period. Good shooters go through slumps, but Ellis simply cant catch a break. Jim Crews has encouraged him to keep shooting, and keep shooting he will. Because at some point they have to start falling, right? SIDE NOTES - Saint Louis forced Charlotte into 13 first half turnovers that resulted in 16 points. Compare that to 3 Billiken turnovers in the first 20 minutes, which resulted in zero points for the 49ers, and you can see how the pace of game was in SLUs favor throughout. The 49ers finished with 20 turnovers compared to the Billikens 10. The 55 points scored by Charlotte were the fifth fewest in a game this year for the 49ers and tied the teams all-time low at the Atlantic 10 Championship. As a team, the Billikens shot just 37.5 (21-56) from the field. That isnt good. In fact, it is tied with the Duquesne game (where they also shot 21-56) for the worst shooting performance in a win this season. What was that quote Crews used earlier this year? If you want a beauty contest go watch Miss America. Yeah, that sounds about right. This was the first time Saint Louis and Charlotte have met in the A-10 Championships. It was the first neutral court loss of the season for Charlotte. (5-1) NEXT UP: Saint Louis will play Butler in the semifinals of the A-10 Championships on Saturday at 12:30 pm CT. The Billikens are a perfect 2-0 against Butler on the season, but as the old clich goes, its hard to beat a team three times in a season. Look no further than last season where Saint Louis beat Xavier twice in the regular season before falling to the Musketeers in Atlantic City. SLU matches up well against the Bulldogs virtually across the board, but especially by having a deep stable of guards to harass the sharpshooting Rotnei Clarke.
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