Freshman Jordan Goodwin’s continued production is no consolation to the Saint Louis University Billikens and coach Travis Ford.
The Billikens led for 38 minutes, 45 seconds of regulation against Virginia Commonwealth Tuesday night. However, they fell 75-74 in overtime before a crowd of 5,649 at Chaifetz Arena.
Ford, perhaps as despondent as he has been at any time this season, bemoaned the performance of the Billikens (10-11, 3-5), who are without three suspended players: sophomore Ty Graves, redshirt junior Adonys Henriquez and redshirt sophomore Jermaine Bishop.
The university hired an outside firm to investigate charges of sexual misconduct against those players, plus one additional unidentified player who has remained on the court with the team pending an appeal. The outcome of that appeal should be known in the coming days and could result in explusion for that player.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to Belleville News-Democrat
The school claims the Title IX investigation is ongoing until the results of the appeal are determined.
Despite the dark cloud the investigation has left hanging over the entire program, Goodwin continues to stand out.
In his past three games, the 6-foot-4 Althoff graduate has a triple-double and two double-doubles. Goodwin had 15 points and 10 rebounds against VCU on Tuesday.
“He’s doing a good job. We expect that out of him,” Ford said. “He’s playing to his strengths. He’s always active on the glass. He’s doing a better job finishing around the rim and made some shots tonight. He’s doing what he’s capable of doing.”
Goodwin was 6 of 11 from the field, including 2 of 4 on 3-pointers. Last Wednesday against visiting Duquesne, he had the first triple-double in program history with 13 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists, helping him earn an A-10 Co-Rookie of the Week honor.
A request was made for Goodwin to attend the postgame interview, but juniors D.J. Foreman and Javon Bess were the only players made available.
Ford said Goodwin has become adept at letting the game come to him, rather than force offensive or defensive opportunities that don’t exist.
“He takes what the defense gives him most of the time,” Ford said.
As unsettling as the situation might be for the program, it was the outcome of the game that had Ford in a blue mood. The Billikens led 45-32 after Goodwin’s 3-pointer with 12:27 to play.
But VCU (13-8, 5-3) tied the game at 61 on sophomore DeRiante Jenkins’ 3-pointer with four seconds left in regulation, then cemented the victory on two free throws by senior Jonathan Williams that made it 75-71 with five seconds to play in OT.
“Just too many turnovers,” Ford said of the Billikens’ 18 miscues. “The other team really increases their intensity, they increase their aggressiveness, they increase their pressure, and we kind of went the other way. Fatigue played a factor a little bit, but no excuses. We just didn’t make enough plays.
“We lost our aggressiveness, we lost our physicality, our toughness. We played on our heels a little bit. You can’t do that. You’ve got to play the game to win. ... We didn’t show our identity, who we’re supposed to be, the last 10, 12 minutes of the game.”