January 3, 2014

New Year Starts At Saint Louis

Bulldogs Meet Billikens Saturday On NBC Sports Network

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SAINT LOUIS, Mo. – The holidays have come and gone so it is back to business for the Bulldogs, who play their first game of 2014 at Saint Louis on Saturday. Tip off at gorgeous Chaifetz Arena is slated for 5:30 p.m. EST and the game will be televised on the NBC Sports Network.

Yale (5-6) hasn't played since a 70-62 loss at Albany on Dec. 20. Javier Duren had a big game for the Bulldogs, finishing with a career-high 26 points. The trip to Saint Louis has special meaning for Duren and fellow junior Will Childs-Klein. Both will be playing in their hometown. Duren, Yale's starting point guard, attended the Saint Louis Basketball Camp many times as a youngster. Duren, who leads the Bulldogs in assists (34) and three-pointers (17) and is second in scoring (14.4 ppg.), was the Suburban West Conference Player of the Year as a senior at Oakville High School where he was a four-year starter and 1,000-point scorer. He has played a few games in Chaifetz Arena and his AAU team practiced there often. Childs-Klein, who has appeared in four games off the bench for the Bulldogs this season, was a first team all-conference and all-district selection as a senior at Ladue High School after averaging 18.3 points, 13 rebounds and five blocks. He earned first team all-conference honors as a junior and was a second team all-district selection. Childs-Klein has never played at Chaifetz but has attended a number of SLU games.

Justin Sears is Yale's leading scorer at 17.3 ppg, which is second in the Ivy League. The Bulldogs are playing their third straight road game and have played eight of their 11 games away from home.

3 KEYS FOR YALE

Start Strong – When faced with a nine-day layoff for final exams prior to the Providence game on Dec. 17, the Bulldogs struggled in the first 11 minutes and fell behind by 15. Yale outscored the Friars 61-48 the rest of the way but couldn't quite overcome the slow start and fell 76-74.

Balance On Offense – In each of the last two games, Yale had a player have a career night. Justin Sears scored 31 points against Providence, and Javier Duren had a career-high 26 against Albany. Only one other player reached double figures in those two games (Greg Kelley with 11 against Albany). The Bulldogs would be better served with a more balanced attack.

Execute On Offense – Saint Louis is allowing only 57.7 points on the season, and the Billikens force more than 15 turnovers per game. Yale will need to share and protect the ball to have success.

WHO'S HOT

• Justin Sears scored a career-high 31 points against Providence on Dec. 17. He was 13-of-16 from the field.

• Duren's 26-point performance against Albany came after he went 8-of-15 from the field, 3-of-6 from three-point range and 7-of-8 from the foul line.

HISTORY LESSONS

Yale and Saint Louis are playing for only the third time. The last meeting was a 95-70 Billiken win in the 1971 Saint Louis Invitational. The other game was a 47-37 SLU win in 1946. Yale has made two other trips to Saint Louis in its long history – in 1906 against the Missouri Athletic Club (22-19 win) and in 1940 to play Washington University (44-41 win).

SCOUTING SAINT LOUIS

The Billikens (12-2) have won six straight, including a 57-49 victory at Vanderbilt on Monday. Saint Louis' two losses have come to Wisconsin (63-57) and Wichita State (70-65). Dwayne Evans (15.4 ppg.,) leads the team in scoring, while Grandy Glaze (7.0 rpg.) is the top rebounder. Saint Louis, which has advanced to back-to-back NCAA Tournaments, is the reigning Atlantic 10 Conference champion. The Billikens captured the 2012-13 A-10 regular-season title outright, then claimed the A-10 Championship at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. SLU was picked to finish second in the A-10 preseason poll. Dwayne Evans was a first-team preseason All-Conference selection, while Jordair Jett was voted to the third team and preseason All-Defensive team. Jim Crews, the Billikens' head coach, previously coached at Army where he faced Yale on a number of occasions.

Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity