Cancun, Mexico (SportsNetwork.com) - A pair of undefeated teams find themselves in Mexico to take part in the Cancun Challenge, as the 10th-ranked Wisconsin Badgers tangle with the Saint Louis Billikens.
Head coach Jim Crews has the Billikens off to a perfect start through five games, and the team is receiving votes for the national rankings, but they'll have to do more in order to reach the Top-25. Saint Louis lands in Cancun after claiming a lopsided 74-47 decision against Bowling Green at home on Saturday as part of this event.
The Badgers have won six games out of the gate for the second time in the last three seasons, but the team has not put together a 7-0 run since the 1993-94 campaign when they opened 11-0. Like the Billikens, Wisconsin has already played a pair of games in this tournament at home, defeating both BGSU and, on Saturday, Oral Roberts (76-67).
With respect to the all-time series between these two schools on the hardwood, each has won two of the previous four meetings. Saint Louis won the most recent encounter back in 1989 as part of the NIT, putting up a 73-68 victory in the second round of the event.
Both squads will be back in action on Wednesday, matching up against West Virginia and Old Dominion, with opponents to be determined based on Tuesday's outcomes.
SLU's defense went on the attack against the Falcons over the weekend, limiting the visitors to just seven field goals in the first half and 33.3 percent shooting from the floor overall. Bowling Green also made just 1-of-8 shots from behind the 3-point line, and suffered 18 turnovers as the Billikens led from start to finish.
Dwayne Evans accounted for 14 points, Tanner Lancona 12 off the bench and Mike McCall 11 points and five assists, as the Billikens recorded assists on all but five of their 30 made baskets.
Defense is again the name of the game for the Bills, having held their first five opponents to just 58.2 ppg, based on 39.4 percent shooting from the floor and a paltry 20.3 percent out on the perimeter. Evans leads the offense with 13.6 ppg, followed by McCall and Jordair Jett with 12.6 and 11.6 ppg, respectively.
The Badgers allowed Oral Roberts to shoot 55.1 percent from the field and 7- of-13 behind the 3-point line during their meeting over the weekend, but the hosts clamped down in the paint, permitting the visitors only three offensive rebounds. The Badgers also outscored ORU at the free-throw line, 15-6, as the home team utilized just eight players. Frank Kaminsky led the way with 21 points, Josh Gasser 15, Ben Brust 12 points, eight rebounds and five assists, followed by Traevon Jackson and Sam Dekker with 11 and 10 points, respectively.
All five starters are scoring in double figures for Wisconsin, led by Kaminsky with his 17.3 ppg. Kaminsky is not only shooting 58.2 percent from the field, but also 55.0 percent beyond the arc where the team is 45.2 percent accurate overall. Jackson (11.7 ppg) keeps his teammates involved with 28 assists, adding 4.5 rpg in order to become a tough matchup defensively.