Saint Louis sophomore guard Jordair Jett scored 19 points off the bench, and Saint Louis drained 14 3-pointers to top Villanova 80-68 Friday in the semifinals of the 76 Classic.
The Billikens, who are 5-0 for the first time since the 1997-98 campaign, advance to face Oklahoma in Sunday’s 76 Classic championship game at 8 p.m. (CT) on ESPN2.
Jett was 7-of-8 from the floor and nailed a pair of treys. He also collected six rebounds. Cody Ellis turned in 14 points, including three treys, while Kyle Cassity had four 3-pointers. SLU’s 14 3-pointers was a 76 Classic record and one off the school record.
“Jordair gave us a great defensive lift and he hit a couple shots, but what he did was he was ball-safe and he was ball-strong and he hit some shots,” SLU head coach Rick Majerus said. “He’s really been working on his shooting, but he did a great job defensively.
“I thought our guys withstood the adversity of their lead and them hitting some shots and us missing some good shots. I thought they hit a lot of contested shots, and I thought that we missed some and stayed with it.”
Villanova (4-1) led for the majority off the first half before the Billikens manufactured a 20-2 run to give SLU an eight-point lead with 1:33 remaining in the first half. Cassity sparked the rally with a trey, Mitchell drained a pair of 3s and Ellis hit two in a row as the Billikens led 36-28. Saint Louis had nine 3-pointers in the opening half and led 38-34 at halftime.
The Wildcats opened the second half with a trey to pull within one, but the Billikens’ Rob Loe answered with a 3-pointer on the other end. Dwayne Evans got into the mix with a 3-pointer to make it 52-41 with 14:59 remaining. Brian Conklin’s layup gave the Billikens their largest lead at 58-44 with 12:05 to play.
The Billikens kept a comfortable lead for the remainder of the game, and Ellis scored the Billikens’ final seven points of the game for the 80-62 final.