Cory Remekun took advantage of a rare opportunity Monday night.
Remekun, known mostly for his defensive prowess, scored a career-high 15 points and Cody Ellis added 13 to lead Saint Louis to a 60-46 win over No. 20 New Mexico in nonconference play.
Mike McCall Jr. chipped in with 12 points for Saint Louis (10-3), which won its seventh in a row, its longest streak since winning eight straight from Feb. 12 to March 13, 2003, and moved to 10-0 at home.
Kendall Williams led New Mexico (13-2) with 15 points. Alex Kirk added 13 points and eight rebounds.
New Mexico coach Steve Alford was ejected for the first time in his 22-year coaching career after receiving back-to-back technical fouls with 9:26 remaining.
Remekun, who came in averaging 6.2 points, provided a much-needed offensive boost. He scored 10 points in the first 18:22 and played key roles in early runs of 12-0 and 11-2 that staked the Billikens to a 33-13 lead at the break.
”I was just trying to be a little more aggressive out there, doing what the team needs me to do,” Remekun said. ”It feels a little different; but it feels good, too.”
Saint Louis interim coach Jim Crews enjoyed seeing the hard-working Remekun do some damage on the offensive end for a change.
”I’ve always talked about him doing the little things that don’t show up in the stat sheet, which he continues to do,” Crews said. ”That was neat for a kid who is a senior and has invested as much time as he has in this program to come out and play like that against a good team.”
Remekun converted off a pass from Jordair Jett to push the lead to 20-10 midway through the half. He then added a pair of baskets from close range before scoring off an offensive rebound to close out the first-half scoring.
Saint Louis, which scored 30 points off turnovers, used a lock-down defensive effort to roll out to a 31-12 lead.
New Mexico did not have a field goal over the final 6:57 of the opening half. The Lobos missed 9 of their first 12 shots. Their first-half total of 13 points was their lowest since March 18, 2005 when they trailed Villanova 34-11 at the break in the NCAA tournament.
The Lobos, who committed a season-high 21 turnovers, turned the ball over 15 times on their first 28 possessions.
”This was by far the best half we’ve played all year,” Ellis said. ”Playing defense like that is so much fun. It’s a huge momentum swing.”
Alford was surprised that his team came out so flat after an impressive 55-54 win at then-No.8 Cincinnati on Thursday.
”That was about as poor a half as our team can play,” he said. ”Our start to the game was nothing like we’ve seen this year.”
New Mexico managed to make a run in the second half. The Lobos pulled to 38-29 on a jumper by Williams with 13:29 left, but the Billikens responded with a 14-2 run to regain control.
”We played pretty well in the second half,” Kirk said. ”But any time you go on the road and score just 13 points in a half, it’s going to be impossible to come back.”
The Lobos beat Saint Louis 64-60 in a New Year’s Eve meeting last season in Albuquerque.
The Billikens, who trailed 3-0, had led from start to finish in their previous three contests. The have won their last five games by a combined 101 points.