Althoff graduate Jordan Goodwin turned in the best performance of his young college career Wednesday.
Goodwin, a 6-foot-4 freshman at Saint Louis University, scored a personal-best 20 points and grabbed a game-high nine rebounds as the Billikens outlasted Southern Illinois University Carbondale 74-69 at Chaifetz Arena. Goodwin also had three assists, one steal and just one turnover.
Goodwin’s previous high in points was 19 against Virginia Tech on Nov. 16.
“I’ve been putting a lot of work in,” said Goodwin, who made seven of 12 shots from the field as SLU snapped a four-game losing streak. “I feel in the games we lost, I could have done a lot more for my team. So I’ve been getting up in the morning, like 6 o’clock, getting shots and working on repetition. And late nights, I’m grinding with my teammates. A lot of (help) comes from my teammates, too.
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“With the losing, most teams would be getting separated. We’re just getting closer. We trust each other. Everything we do is as a team. When we go get something to eat, it’s as a team. We’re all doing it together.”
Althoff graduate Brendon Gooch, a redshirt freshman for the Salukis, did not play. Edwardsville graduate Armon Fletcher, a junior, had 12 points for SIUC (4-3). He has scored in double figures in five of his six games this season.
The Billikens improved to 4-4. Goodwin is averaging 10.6 points and 7.1 rebounds. SLU coach Travis Ford is becoming accustomed to Goodwin coming through with strong showings.
“I thought it was his most complete (performance),” Ford said. “I thought he went out there and just played. In the Virginia Tech game, he played really well. But he went out there and played, and he made plays. He’s a guy that can make plays on both ends. What I mean by making a play is a steal, a deflection, a big-time rebound, scoring in different ways.”
Goodwin played 36 minutes and was one of five SLU players to be pressed into service for at least 33 minutes. He felt that enabled him to get into a rhythm.
“The games before, I didn’t trust that much,” Goodwin said. “But now, the players are really telling me, ‘You’ve got to start trusting everyone.’ Today, I trusted everybody on the court. I knew they had confidence in me, and that made my confidence go up.”
Goodwin didn’t get much opportunity to talk to Gooch.
“I talked to him at the end of the game and told him I love him,” Goodwin said. “He knows he’s my buddy. I’ve known him for my whole life. I was very disappointed (he didn’t play).”
Gooch, who graduated in 2016 and was redshirted his first year at SIUC, said he wanted desperately to be on the floor to compete against Goodwin, but he said he will get his opportunity at some point in the next three seasons.
“I played up until this game,” Gooch said. “Maybe next time. Next year, for sure. I wanted to get out there. It’s tough not getting to play, but I know next year and in future years I’ll be able to play against him.”
Fletcher had seven points at halftime. He finished 4 of 7 from the field, including two 3-pointers, and had four rebounds.
Fletcher’s drive and layup put the Salukis ahead 50-46 at the 13-minute mark. After Fletcher swished a 3-pointer from the left corner to give SIUC a 53-48 lead with 12:06 left, Goodwin answered on the other end to bring the Billikens within three.
Goodwin’s layup off a pass from Aaron Hines cut the SIUC lead to 57-56 with 7:06 remaining. SLU pulled ahead 68-63 on a 3-pointer by Javon Bess with 2:12 left. Goodwin made two free throws with 19.1 seconds left to make it make it 72-66. He made a free throw with one second remaining to set his career-high in points.
“It’s a big win for the whole team,” Goodwin said. “We’ve definitely grown up. We were there for each other the whole game.”