SLU vs. Texas A&M-CC: Post-Game


Anybody who’s ever had a growth spurt knows the hurt that comes with growing pains are intense. Billiken fans who have forgotten that hurt from their teen years are being reminded of it again this basketball season. Life after Jordair Jett, Rob Loe, and Dwayne Evans is proving to be tough, exemplified in Sunday’s loss to Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.

“We haven’t gotten off to good starts. They’ve been average at best.”-Jim Crews

“They out-played, out-executed, and out-coached us.” Very basic from Coach Crews in the post-game regarding why they lost. But it goes a little deeper than for each of the three categories (playing, executing, coaching).


Although young, this team is much more talented than they receive credit for. The issue, as happens with most young teams, regards individual consistency, along with individual consistency on both ends of the court.

Individually, it’s hard not to ask more from the point guard. Austin McBroom has the potential to be an all-conference selection, and is the clear leader of this team. The issue with him, though, is that he’s not producing regularly. For example, he put up 24 in a phenomenal game against SIU in the opener, but only has 13 points combined in the past two games. Plain and simply, he needs to play much better for this team.

On top of McBroom, another consistency concern looms in the paint. In the pre-game, the height advantage for the Bills was discussed, and it was noted that rebounding and second chance points should be available. But looking at the box score, it’s hard to believe they had any advantage at all. The four biggest players for SLU (Manning, Jolly, Gillmann, Lancona) combined for 6 rebounds, while the team combined for 8 second chance points. Really the definition of being out-played.

As a team, the defense has been better than expected. They’ve won the turnover battle in 2 of the 3 games so far, including Sunday’s contest. As well, the Islanders had no free throw opportunities in the first half, and only 14 for the game. But, the Islanders responded to that by shooting 50% from the field. Not a lack of defensive pressure, more a lack of elevating defensive pressure to another level at the end. SLU was winning this game with 3 minutes left, before allowing an 11-4 run to end the game. Overall, an average 37 minutes of defense, followed by 3 minutes of poor play.


“They had good execution where we didn’t.”-Jim Crews

Coach Crews talked about needing a “buffet” of offensive plays. For example, instead of having 3 straight possessions of one pass and a shot, having varied possessions of 2,3,4 or more passes before shooting. “We take too many quick shots,” Crews said. That comes with age and experience, which makes it even more unsettling to see happen with Austin McBroom and Ash Yacoubou.

As stated earlier about the last 3 minutes of the contest, the defense and offense lacks execution in the late and crucial minutes. Whether it’s letting up easy shots, not playing solid defense, or not taking quality shots, this team isn’t tested enough to know what to do at the end of games (with the opener against SIU being an exception). There has to be a fire and elevation that sets in during those late moments, which isn’t necessarily something that can be coached.


Coach Jim Crews is doing a phenomenal job at SLU. In terms of coaching, recruiting, and molding these athletes, there’s not many people better for the job. There’s a lot of talent on this roster, and coming in the next few years, for him to work with. Undoubtedly, he’ll have this team back in the national spotlight soon.

Having said that, there were some curious coaching decisions in this game, mostly concerning the lineup. The decision to enter Reggie Agbeko in place of Tanner Lancona is one that I liked. Agbeko is a superior rebounder and defender, and probably should have been starting from the beginning.

The questionable moves started with only playing Austin Gillmann 5 minutes. He hasn’t necessarily been the most consistent player, but completely removing him from the lineup is puzzling. Most questionable was the removal of Mike Crawford from the rotation. In my opinion, Crawford has been the steady centerpiece for this team. How he goes from playing 25 minutes per game in the first two contests to only 8 minutes this game is baffling.

Although the loss settles as a bit demoralizing, there’s a lot of season left. Journalists often use “rebuilding” and “potential” to describe bad teams without saying it so bluntly. But here, that’s not the story. This isn’t a bad team, just a team in the middle of a, dare I say, rebuilding process. There’s a lot of, dare I say, potential for future. The growing pains aren’t over, but be patient.