ST. LOUIS — The Billikens of Saint Louis are ready to get their 2019-20 season rolling by hosting the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles. Florida Gulf Coast went 14-18 last season and finished fourth in the Atlantic Sun, while Saint Louis ended up 23-13 and finished sixth in the Atlantic 10 Conference.
Are the Billikens ready for the real deal? So far, they've played just one exhibition game, defeating Kentucky Wesleyan 77-48 on Oct. 30 at Chaifetz Arena, as well a closed-door scrimmage at Loyola Chicago on Oct. 22.
Disappointment is the only word to describe the Billikens 2018 season, but there some bright spots. The Billikens won four games in four days in thrilling fashion at the A10 Championship at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, punching their ticket to the NCAA Tournament.
The Billikens were selected as a No. 13 seed in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. The season came to a close after a 66-52 loss to No. 4 Virginia Tech in the first round in San Jose, California. It was the Billikens’ fourth NCAA Tournament appearance this decade.
New Year, New Attitude
The Billikens will be led in 2019-20 by Hasahn French and Jordan Goodwin.
French is on the verge of becoming SLU’s all-time leader in blocked shots. He is a preseason second-team All-Conference selection and a preseason All-Defensive team pick. Goodwin does it all – he is the only Billiken who has recorded a triple-double. Goodwin was named a preseason third-team All-Conference selection. Also returning are sophomores KC Hankton, Demarius Jacobs and Fred Thatch Jr.
The Billikens welcome seven newcomers into the fold – five true freshmen Jimmy Bell Jr., Yuri Collins, Madani Diarra, Terrence Hargrove Jr. and Gibson Jimerson, a junior college transfer Javonte Perkins and a graduate transfer Tay Weaver.
Here are 5 facts in advance of Tuesday’s game:
1. The season marks the 12th year of the Billikens playing in Chaifetz Arena. This is also the 12th straight season SLU has opened the year at home. The Billikens are 9-2 in openers at Chaifetz Arena.
2. The Nov. 5 start date is the earliest start to a season in school history, beating last year’s Nov. 6 season opener by one day.
3. Junior forward Hasahn French enters the season needing just 11 blocked shots to become SLU’s all-time leader.
4. SLU will give away a 55” television and 10 pairs of Apple AirPods to SLU students in attendance. SLU students must have a valid SLU ID, and will need to register at the marketing table at the top of the student section to be entered into the drawing.
5. Prior to the game, the '2019 Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament Champions' and '2019 NCAA Tournament' banners will be revealed. They will hang in the Chaifetz Arena rafters above section 205, across the from the Billikens’ bench.