Saint Louis (2-1) vs. (12) Kansas (3-1)
Tuesday, November 20, 9:30 p.m. (et)
The Sports Network
By Nicholas DeLorenzo, Associate College Basketball Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: Sprint Center (18,972) -- Kansas City, Missouri. Television: ESPN U. Home Record: Saint Louis 1-1, KU 2-0. Away Record: Saint Louis 0-0, KU 0-0. Neutral Record: Saint Louis 1-0, KU 1-1. Conference Record: Saint Louis 0-0, KU 0-0. Series Record: Kansas leads, 12-3.
GAME NOTES: After winning their respective semifinal-round matchups on Monday, the Saint Louis Billikens and the Kansas Jayhawks will meet in the championship game of the CBE Hall of Fame Classic at the Sprint Center in Kansas City on Tuesday night.
Kansas won its opener at home against Southeast Missouri State on Nov. 9 (74-55) before dropping a marquee matchup between nationally-ranked teams against Michigan State, 67-64. The Jayhawks have bounced back nicely however, posting two straight wins, including a 78-41 romp of Washington State in the semifinals of this event.
Saint Louis started it season well with a strong 76-59 win over USC Upstate, but it followed that with a disappointing home loss to Santa Clara, 74-62. The Billikens were able to bounce back in its first game in Kansas City on Monday night, making easy work of Texas A&M, 70-49, to advance to this championship game.
Kansas leads the all-time series with Saint Louis, 12-3, with the last meeting taking place in 2000.
The Billikens came into the matchup with Texas A&M shooting a solid 46.1 percent from the floor, and they managed to up that to 51 percent on Monday night. Saint Louis also helped itself by forcing the Aggies into just as many turnovers as field goals made (19), as it got out to a nine-point halftime lead and never looked back. Dwayne Evans was on fire in the win, nailing 8- of-10 field goal attempts for 21 points, which tied a career-high. Mike McCall, Jr. shot 3-of-4 from beyond the arc en route to 13 points, Corey Remekun scored 12 points, and Cody Ellis tallied 10 points, seven rebounds, and four assists. Jordair Jett scored just three points but he stuffed the stat sheet otherwise with eight assists, five boards, three steals, and two blocks. On the season, Evans is the team's leading scorer with 18.3 ppg on greater than 70 percent from the floor. Jett has dished out 23 assists (5.8 apg), but he's also turned the ball over 14 times.
Kansas started its semifinal matchup with a 10-2 run in the first two minutes before its lead eventually ballooned to 29 by the end of the first half. It was a modest field goal shooting night for the Jayhawks (.455), but they held a significant advantage at the foul line, going 20-of-22 from the stripe, while Washington State made just three trips to the line all night. Travis Releford scored a season-high 17 points on 6-of-7 from the field. Perry Ellis knocked down all eight of his free throws en route to 12 points, and Ben McLemore chipped in 11 points. Jeff Withey (eight points, six rebounds, five blocks) and Kevin Young (10 rebounds) were both solid in the frontcourt. On the season, Kansas has yet to truly break out, as it is shooting 44.2 percent from the field, including a disappointing 27.3 percent from three-point range. McLemore (14.8 ppg) is a versatile guard, averaging 6.3 rpg and 3.0 apg. Elijah Johnson (11.5 ppg, 2.8 apg) and Withey (11.0 ppg, 8.8 rpg, 4.5 bpg) are also off to fine starts.
With both teams coming off fantastic defensive efforts, points could be at a premium in this one, but the star power of Kansas far outweighs what the Billikens have to offer. Expect the likes of McLemore, Releford and Withey to do enough down the stretch to give the Jayhawks this tournament title.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Kansas 66, Saint Louis 56
11/20 10:37:24 ET