SIUC (8-7) played "scrappy and ugly," forcing host Saint Louis University (9-6) "out of their rhythm" before 13,000+ fans at the Kiel Center. The Billikens countered with their own style of outside shooting and good team play to hand the Salukis a disappointing 64-76 non-conference road loss.
The Salukis trailed at halftime 24-36 and were able to match the Billikens scoring output for the rest of the game. That type of progress earns any team a notch in the loss column. For the second straight game, SIU took 60+ shots, hitting just 19 field goals. Both teams were even at the free throw line (23 points each), but one of the key statistics may be the number of assists handed out by Saluki players. SIU had 5 total assists (from 4 players) compared with 17 assists (from 9 players) by the host Billikens. Although the numbers were favorable to SIU in other catagories, one of SIU's problems concerns poor shot selection, which in part results from inexperience, defensive pressure and the level of athletic talent.
|SIU freshman guard Kent Williams (33) had his hands full against Billiken senior guard Troy Robertson (10). Robertson scored 13 point off the bench in just 13 minutes of action. Williams finished with 5 points and 3 steals in 29 minutes of play.|
|The big match up was between SIU sophomore guard Brandon Mells (3) and SLU senior guard Justin Love (3)...|
|and Billiken Love (3) towered over Mells (3) in most catagories. Love finished with 26 points, 11 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 block and 2 steals in 32 minutes of play. Mells had 14 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist and 2 steals in 27 minutes.|
|SLU junior forward Justin Tatum (40) gave SIU senior forward Derrick Tilmon (42) plenty to handle. Tatum contributed 10 points and 9 rebounds while Tilmon finished with 8 points and 7 rebounds.|
|Saluki junior forward Joshua Cross (12) contributed a strong inside game helping SIU lead in "points in the paint" against SLU. Cross had 12 points, 6 rebounds and 2 assists while facing SLU's juniors Chris Heinrich (35) and Maurice Jeffers (31).|
|SLU's Chris Heinrich (35) scores an easy dunk; Heinrich finished with 8 points and 9 rebounds. In the end, experience, a patient offense and some intimidation enabled SLU to remain in control of the game.|