Billikens pull away late to beat Richmond
ST. LOUIS- It wasn’t pretty, but a win is a win.
Saint Louis used defensive stops and a 16-4 run down the stretch to pull off a 64-50 victory over Richmond on Wednesday night at Chaifetz Arena.
“We didn’t play as smart as of a game as I would have like,” Rick Majerus stated following the game. “But their style screws you up.”
That “style” was a match-up zone on the defensive end combined with a Princeton style offense consisting of screens and backdoor cuts.
“The zone is hard because they free switch, but then they come in and double and they have a shot blocker down below,” Majerus said. “It bothered us. You have to prepare for an aberration as opposed to something you don’t see with everyone else. Our guys did a fairly good job with that tonight.”
On a night where leading scorer Brian Conklin was struggling to find his shot, junior forwards Cody Ellis and Cory Remekun picked up the slack. Ellis finished with a team-high 14 points to go along with six rebounds while Remekun chipped in with nine points and a season-high seven boards in just 15 minutes of action.
“Cody played outstanding on both sides of the ball,” Majerus said. Cory was exceptional as well in his defensive effort. He really played well.”
“A huge advantage of our team is the fact that we are so deep,” Ellis said. “Anyone on any given night can come out and have a big game. It doesn’t matter if it is Brian or Kwamain not scoring. Someone is always there to pick them up. The fact that we have each other’s back is huge for this team.”
For Remekun, understanding his role and playing within his limits created the opportunity for success.
“I am just trying to bring more energy,” Remekun said. “I am accepting my role of bringing a spark to the team off the bench and trying to play and be aggressive on both ends of the court.”
Richmond, which recorded its second-lowest point total of the season, lost for a fifth time in six outings and fell to 13-14, 4-8 in the Atlantic 10. Darien Brothers scored 19 for the Spiders.
Saint Louis (21-5, 9-3) continues to grind out victories behind solid defensive efforts. Richmond entered the game leading the A-10 in 3-pointers made, yet the Billikens kept the Spiders cold from behind the arc.
"We did a pretty good job of defending the three,” Majerus said. “They were 1-15 from three. We were giving them some threes and taking some chances. Everything is percentages and we were fortunate they didn’t hit a couple.”
Next up for the Billikens is the Fordham Rams, who visit Chaifetz Arena on Saturday.