BROOKLYN, N.Y. • St. Louis University failed to live up to its billing as the best team in the Atlantic 10 during the regular season, but the Billikens have a chance for redemption Sunday.
They will play for the A-10 tournament championship and a berth in the NCAA Tournament against St. Bonaventure at Barclays Center after rolling past Davidson 67-44 in a semifinal Saturday afternoon.
Sixth-seeded SLU (22-12) outscored the No. 2 Wildcats 47-17 over the final 23 minutes, holding them to 17 percent shooting in the second half.
Javon Bess scored 24 points on 10-for-14 shooting and Tramaine Isabell Jr. added 19 while D.J. Foreman and Hasahn French led the rebounding assault with 11 and 10 respectively.
“In the second half we came out and really were just locked in and made a lot of defensive plays that led to offense,” SLU coach Travis Ford said. “Our offense was helping our defense a lot. We competed at a very high level. The guys stayed locked in. I don’t think they ever looked at the scoreboard and never rested.”
The Billikens jumped to a 12-2 lead. Davidson (24-9) answered with a 24-8 burst to build a seven-point advantage. That was essentially the end of the offense for the Wildcats.
SLU went on a 9-0 run at the end of the first half and then 12-0 early in the second half to build a double-digit lead then never fell to fewer than 13 the rest of the game.
A-10 player of the year Jon Axel Gudmundsson had 15 points for Davidson but never got into a rhythm. And first-team all-conference guard Kellan Grady scored seven points on 3-for-17 shooting.
“I told the guys if we hold Grady and Gudmundsson below their average, just one point below, I think that will be good enough,” Ford said.
SLU lost its only regular-season meeting with St. Bonaventure 66-57 on the road in the final regular-season game.