ST. LOUIS — Saint Louis sophomore forward Grandy Glaze plays about 12 minutes a game and averages three points and three rebounds.
Sounds like a mop-up guy, right?
More like a high-intensity must-start, considering the fourth seed in the Midwest Regional is 15-1 since Glaze was plugged into the lineup.
“Grandy’s great, he’s full of energy, he’s never tired,” forward Rob Loe said. “He gets us going.”
In search of a spark in January after consecutive losses to Temple and Rhode Island, the latter at home, interim coach Jim Crews turned to the 6-6 Glaze. The Billikens (27-6) took off with 11 of the victories by double digits, and are a fashionable underdog pick to make a deep run in the NCAA tournament while feeding off a very hungry player.
“Once I sit I’m really itching for the second half to come and the starters are back out there,” Glaze said. “But I’ll take winning over anything and do whatever the coaches feel is necessary.
“If they put me in I make the most out of every minute I get, man.”
Saint Louis is ranked 13th, the school’s best of the season, after winning the Atlantic 10 regular-season and tournament titles. The team left for San Jose, Calif., on Monday afternoon in preparation for Thursday’s game against 13th-seeded New Mexico State (24-10), memories of their unique selection Sunday experience fresh in their minds.
The team bus got stuck in traffic in Manhattan — after the Billikens won the A-10 tournament title game in Brooklyn — and pulled over just in time at a Best Buy in Secaucus, N.J., which they reasoned had plenty of TVs.
“It took about an hour to go a mile, so right through the Holland Tunnel we knew we were not going to probably see it at the airport like we’d kind of planned,” Crews said. “They were very accommodating.
“I bet we weren’t in there 15 minutes. We got there probably two minutes before 6 (p.m.) and they called our name early.”
Energized by the news, they hit the road for the Teterboro Airport.
Glaze is the lone underclassman starter on a seasoned team that ended the school’s 12-year tournament drought last spring while coached by the late Rick Majerus, and now has it’s highest seed ever. Adding Glaze into the mix extends the team’s depth, with top 3-point threat Cody Ellis the sixth man and speedy guard Jordair Jett and forward Cory Remeken coming off the bench.
All three of those players are getting more minutes than Glaze, who is ninth on the team in scoring and ninth in minutes with a season best of 10 points against Fordham and 11 rebounds against Duquesne. He’s shooting 51 percent, but a liability at the free throw line making just three of 12.
“At times he might get a bucket, but he opens up shots or drives for other guys because he runs the floor hard,” Crews said. “They’re all good luck charms, I don’t think it’s just him.”
Ellis and Remeken are seniors so there’ll be openings in the front court next season, and in any case Glaze is satisfied with his role. He was playing a lot less earlier in the season before replacing Remeken, and said teammates helped him keep his chin up.
“They told me to keep working, do the things you’re good at, which is running the floor, rebounding,” Glaze said. “And not necessarily be a numbers guy, because we have guys who can do that already as everybody can see.”
Forward Dwayne Evans, the A-10 tournament MVP, is the leading scorer and rebounder and though undersized at 6-5 has an uncanny knack for wriggling free inside. Ellis is the top 3-point threat, but Mitchell, Loe and Mike McCall Jr. also are dangerous from long range.
Showcasing that versatility for the conference tournament certainly helped open some eyes to the Billikens’ potential for a deep tournament run.
Crews doesn’t know what to make of the notion that Saint Louis, which didn’t crack the Top 25 until late in the regular season, has become a darling. Crews did television work for the Big Ten network before answering the call from Majerus before the 2011-12 season, and takes little stock in prognosticating.
“We’ve got to play Thursday, and everybody’s season comes to a crash except for one so you’d better be ready to play,” Crews said. “I’ve done that analyst thing, and that’s just an opinion. You don’t have to know anything to have an opinion. It’s easy.”MORE IN Sports WireTHE ASSOCIATED PRESS Full Story
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