ST. LOUIS – Saint Louis finished the first half on a 20-3 run and coasted to a 68-41 victory over SIUE Friday night at Chaifetz Arena.
The 27-point margin of victory tied the season high for the Billikens, who improved to 9-3 with their sixth consecutive win. SIUE, which suffered its worst defeat of the year, fell to 4-6 and saw its two-game winning streak halted.
Mike McCall Jr. scored a game- and season-high 16 points on 7-of-12 shooting and added a season-high five rebounds for Saint Louis, which earned a 38-26 advantage on the glass and committed just nine turnovers. Dwayne Evans tallied 14 points and five boards, while Cory Remekun grabbed a game- and career-high 10 rebounds.
Six other Billikens scored between four and eight points, and the Bills shot 50 percent from the field in each half. Kwamain Mitchell returned to the starting lineup and tied Jordair Jett for game-high honors with five assists.
Jerome Jones and Kris Davis scored 15 and 12 points, respectively, for SIUE, which shot just 31.9 percent from the floor. Derian Shaffer and Michael Messer had seven rebounds apiece.
The Billikens earned an early nine-point lead. Rob Loe began the scoring with a 17-footer and made it 4-0 when he turned an offensive rebound into a layup. Remekun collected an offensive board and dunked for a 6-2 edge.
SLU scored on three straight possessions for a 12-3 cushion. McCall Jr. drove the lane for a layup, Jett hit a jumper from the right wing, and McCall turned Jett’s steal into a fast-break layup.
Three-pointers by Jones and Davis bookended an 11-4 SIUE spurt that narrowed the Saint Louis lead to 16-14, but then the Cougars hit an offensive wall. SIUE scored just three points – another Davis trey with 1:59 remaining – in the final 9:05 of the half, while SLU found its offensive footing.
McCall Jr. ignited the 20-3 flurry with a 3-pointer. Jett and Evans sank a free throw apiece before Jake Barnett buried treys from opposite sides of the floor on consecutive possessions for a 27-14 Billiken lead.
Cody Ellis hit a short spinning bank shot to boost the margin to 15 before Davis connected on his second triple of the half to halt the SIUE scoring drought. The Bills concluded the period with points on three straight possessions – an Evans layup, Mitchell’s driving layup and Ellis’ 3-pointer just before the buzzer – and carried a 36-17 cushion into the break.
Early in the second half, Saint Louis extended the run to 24-3 on baskets by Remekun and McCall Jr. Ellis’ three-point play made it a 25-point margin, 46-21, and the lead dipped below 20 just once the rest of the way.
The Billikens are back in action at Chaifetz Arena Monday, Dec. 31, against New Mexico. Tip time is 6:30 p.m.