Behind 35 combined points from Junior guard Javon Bess and Senior 6th man Aaron Hines the Billiken’s opened up the 2017-2018 campaign with a well earned 62-46 win over Seattle. Due in large part to a relentless defensive effort the Bills were able to overcome 14 turnovers on a night plagued by sloppy and inconsistent offense.
Coach Ford, “We played great defense on a night when the offense wasn’t working well…We have to cut down our turnovers…14 is a lot for a team that struggles to score at times.” Adding, “We showed signs of being great…but I think we broke our offense down to much…There were moments of greatness and moments of sloppiness.”
In the post game presser Coach Ford raved about the constant and relentless effort of Javon Bess. “He has a desire to effect the game...He is relentless on defense, relentless on offense, relentless rebounding. And, you can see that rubbing off on the other guys...”
The offense did look good in spurts. There were glimpses of great side to side ball movement. Aaron Hines spoke to this at the post game presser, “It’s a pain to keep guarding guys that are constantly moving the ball.” He added that this is a team wide focus for the year going forward.
Senior guard Davell Roby had a couple takeaways on what he and his teammates needed to work on before Monday’s matchup with Rockhurst, “We had a goal of 18 assists tonight and only got 10. So, before Monday we need to work on spreading the floor...We also have to keep that pressure defense up and not letting guys get to the hoop.”
All in all it’s a win. And with a crowd of nearing 7,500 it was exactly what the Bill’s needed to keep the excitement of the beginning of a season going. Monday night’s matchup with Rockhurst is a perfect opportunity to keep working the kinks out, building chemistry, and growing their offense into one that can compliment their relentless defense to compete night in and night out in the Atlantic 10.
Random Observations from court side
1. I am convinced the student section is not exactly clear on what constitutes traveling.
2. Hines has a jumper nearly as pretty as Scott Highmark’s.
3. I'm pretty sure the guy who participated in the half-court shot challenge to win free McDonalds for life had never touched a basketball in his life before that very moment.
4. One of the refs looked exactly like Marty McFly
5. I got to sit 2 seats away from Bill Slattery, who played for SLU from 52-55.
6. The writer directly to my right (who will remain incognito) once told Leon Spinx he couldn’t go out drinking with him. "I can't tonight, champ. I gotta get home."
7. Coach Ford has the same exact voice as Det. John Rayburn from Bloodline…seriously.
What a Friday night. Great seat, great conversations, and a win in the STL.
Dispatch from Midtown, complete.