Billikens begin A-10 play with 65-53 loss to Rhode Island
ST. LOUIS — Hassan Martin scored all but two of his 15 points in the second half and added a team-high eight rebounds, helping Rhode Island put away Saint Louis 65-53 in an Atlantic-10 Conference opener on Saturday.
Gilvydas Biruta had 10 of his 14 points in the first half for the Rams (9-3), who have won four in a row overall — all by double figures. They’ve won six of seven in the series.
Milik Yarbrough had 19 points and eight rebounds for Saint Louis (8-6), the two-time defending A-10 champions, who couldn’t overcome a season-worst 21 turnovers. Ash Yacoubou had 11 points and seven rebounds but missed the front end of the bonus twice in the second half.
Saint Louis hit seven of its first 11 shots and led by as many as eight points in the first half. Biruta had a put-back and a layup in transition to cap an 11-1 run, giving him 10 points overall and putting Rhode Island ahead 26-24 and it was tied at 27 at the half.
Rhode Island negated another fast Saint Louis start in the second half, with Jarvis Garrett scoring the last five in a 13-0 run that made it 45-37.
E.C. Matthews added 12 points and Biggie Minnis had 10 for Rhode Island. The Rams entering allowing opponents an average of 56.9 points, among the best in the nation.
Saint Louis is 93-24 in seven seasons in the Chaifetz Arena but has five new starters and is just 6-4 at home this season.