Saint Louis University made a valiant bid at a comeback, but fell just short on Tuesday evening against No. 10 Wisconsin in Cancun, losing 63-57.
SLU found its rhythm with senior forward Dwayne Evans shouldering the load in the second half, but it was a classic case of ""too little too late". Evans played just nine minutes in the first half due to foul trouble, but finished in double figures for the 24th straight game.
The Billikens shot just 33 percent from the field tonight and shot selection seemed to be an issue all evening.
Senior guard Jordair Jett never got into a flow of the game, hitting just two of his 10 shot attempts and missing all four of his free throws, including two when the Billikens had a chance to cut the Badgers' lead to six with just under four minutes remaining.
Another late charge saw SLU cut a 12 point deficit to five, but Loe's errant pass was intercepted by Traevon Jackson with 56 seconds left and the Billikens could never get any closer.
Wisconsin big man Frank Kaminsky showed why he's one of the nation's most improved players. As I alluded to in the preview, SLU couldn't jump at his ball and head fakes -- yet they did just that -- and he was able to get easy looks at the rim.
Austin McBroom provided a nice spark for the lifeless Billikens' offense in the first half and carried that through into the second frame, but a couple ill-advised looks down the stretch from McBroom and his counterparts doomed a comeback going full-circle.
When it looked as though the Billikens would be run out of the building in Playa del Carmen, however, they fought back strong and really kept the Badgers on their heels in the second half.
Moving forward, that's got to be something that the Bills can count on. They won't quit and they're going to play until the final whistle.
"That's a Big Ten-caliber team and this was big for us to come away with a win," Wisconsin guard Josh Gasser said postgame.
Jackson, who hit some crucial buckets for the Badgers, was impressed with what SLU brought to the table.
"Saint Louis presented a different kind of game and style," he said postgame. "They're a tournament team, so this was important for us."
The Billikens now finish up in Cancun with a game against Old Dominion tomorrow at 6 p.m. (CT) before heading home to face Wichita State on Dec. 1.