After a storybook start to the 2013-2014 season, the St. Louis Billikens have officially hit a speed bump.
St. Louis won 25 of their first 26 games in route to a #10 ranking in the national polls and pole position in the Atlantic 10 Conference, but after a disappointing home loss to Duquesne on Thursday night (yikes), the Billikens lost again on Saturday afternoon. Shaka Smart and the VCU Rams rose up and knocked off St. Louis by a final score of 67-56, and the turnover margin told the story.
VCU is well-known for their tempo on both ends, and they took advantage of that havoc by creating 17 turnovers by SLU. More importantly, though, the Rams took care of the ball at a high level, committing only 6 giveaways on their own, and that was enough to create multiple additional opportunities to score the basketball.
The Rams overcame some ugly shooting (38.7% FG, 18.8% from 3-point land) in order to grab the win, and Treveon Graham led the way. The 6-foot-6 junior scored 17 points, grabbed 7 rebounds, and racked up 3 steals in the game, and Briante Weber (the nation’s leader in steals) added 13 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 steals for good measure.
On the St. Louis side, Jordair Jett had a big game with 18 points, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the turnover margin. Winning on the road against a quality opponent is difficult enough, but when you continue to give the ball away, it becomes impossible, and SLU was snake-bitten on Saturday evening.