St. Louis – There was a bit of offseason rust for the Saint Louis Billikens as they trailed 35-34 at halftime against Southeast Missouri, but they snapped out of it early in the second half and rolled to a 87-64 victory.
Junior forward Grandy Glaze and senior four-man Dwayne Evans set the tone for the Billikens all evening long. Glaze, who dropped 25 pounds from his frame in the summer, finished a perfect 7-for-7 from the floor and ripped down 10 rebounds. Evans poured in 16 points and asserted himself inside the paint against a undermanned and undersized Redhawks' ballclub.
The Bills, a senior-laden squad, saw the veterans shoulder the load when it mattered the most. Evans, along with Jordair Jett, Mike McCall Jr., and Rob Loe combined for 31 points in the second stanza.
Against what could only be termed as a "unique" lineup – with SEMO playing five guards – SLU struggled to get its offense going. In the second half, however, the defense helped find easier offensive chances.
"We started playing defense," Evans said of the second half run. "That was probably the biggest difference. First half we just really let them get the ball whenever they wanted. We got out of character and in the second half, we regrouped."
"That made some difficult matchups for us," Crews said. "We probably shot a little quick at times. . .sometimes I thought we got in a rut there in that situation. At times it looked like we wanted to score 10 points at one time in one possession."
After settling into a comfort zone, the points came in a hurry and Glaze was one of the catalysts that kept the Bills going during both rough stretches in the first half as well as scoring runs after the break.
His first double-double came in fine fashion, but he doesn't see the high level of play ending any time soon.
"There's more to come," he said intensely. "Trust me, there's more to come."
SLU head coach Jim Crews has seen Glaze develop over his time in Midtown and liked what he saw from his junior big man.
"Grandy is a kid that obviously loves to play basketball and he has a lot of energy," he said. "Sometimes he does a little too much, but that's good. He's doing a lot of good things from an offensive standpoint."
SEMO junior Jarekious Bradley kept the overmatched visiting Redhawks in the game early, but couldn't sustain the momentum.
The Billikens (1-0) go on the road to SIU-Edwardsville on Wednesday evening. The game will be televised on Fox Sports Midwest.