Saint Louis, who entered as the sixth seed despite being picked to win the regular season title, was the only team to play four games in Brooklyn this week, ending their magical run by beating four-seed St. Bonaventure in the championship on Sunday, 55-53.
“We made an adjustment,” said Tramaine Isabell, Jr., of their approach to guarding St. Bonaventure’s Courntey Stockard. “We forced him back sideline to sideline. Ever since that little adjustment, it was hard for them to get into their rhythm.
Isabell averaged 17.3 points and 6.0 assists, shooting 44 percent from the floor and 39 percent from three during the week, earning him Most Outstanding Player honors.
Saint Louis began their run to the title on Thursday, defeating 11-seed Richmond 71-68, then followed that up by knocking off three of the top four seeds in consecutive days.
The Billikens knocked off three-seed Dayton on Friday, scoring a minor 64-55 upset to close out the night behind 24 points on 50% shooting from Isabell, who also dished out six assists.
On Saturday, Saint Louis negated number-two seed Davidson, decimating them 67-44 after a second half where they outscored the Wildcats 38 to 15. Javonne Bess, who was named to the All-Championship Team, dropped 24 points on 10-of-14 shooting, adding seven rebounds.
“Our team’s been through a lot of adversity,” said coach Tom Ford. “When you’re picked first and you don’t really go through the league quite like the way you wanted to, you come to a tournament with something to prove.”
Joining the two Billikens on the All-Championship team were Macrus Santos-Silva, who had 26 points and 22 rebounds for top-seeded Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in their upset loss to eight-seeded Rhode Island, Kyle Lofton of St. Bonaventure and Cyril Langevine of Rhode Island.
The Billikens are the 13-seed in the East Region of the NCAA Tournament bracket. The A-10 Champs will match-up with four-seed Virginia Tech on Friday.
The VCU Rams (25-7, 16-2 Atlantic 10) earned an NCAA Tournament at-large bid despite seeing their 12-game winning streak snapped in their first round of the Atlantic 10 tourney. The squad is also in the East Region as the eighth seed, and they’ll face number-nine University of Central Florida.