EDWARDSVILLE, Il. --
After a sluggish start, Saint Louis used a 16-0 first half run in cruising to an 82-58 victory over Southern Illinois-Edwardsville before a sold-out crowd of 4,007 at the Vadalabene Center.
Four SLU players reached double figures – Jordair Jett (16), Mike McCall Jr. (14), Dwayne Evans (14), and Austin McBroom (10). Additionally, junior forward Grandy Glaze came just one point shy of his second-straight double-double, racking up nine points and 14 rebounds in just 22 minutes of play.
Down 4-0 after two quick scores by SIU-E, the Billikens clamped down on defense and never looked back.
"In the first half, I can't remember running one play," SIU-E coach Lennox Forrester said. "They're a great team. . .Saint Louis came at us and I didn't think we came back at them. We were soft instead of attacking the paint."
A balanced attack carried the visiting Billikens, who 54.7 percent from the field. Starting off the game 1-for-5 from the field, the Bills then finished out the first half hitting 17 of their final 25 attempts.
SLU built its lead on an equally effective mixture of inside-outside play, and maintained it with a strong defensive effort and an emphasis on getting the ball into the post.
Bills' head coach Jim Crews was also in favor of the local rivalry and thirty-minute commute.
"Best road trip I've ever had in my life," he said. "I really thought we were excellent defensively. We played very, very well particularly in the first half. "
Forrester, who was a player under Crews, said that he would like to see the series continue in the future but understands that in order for that to happen, his team needs to be more competitive.
Even with a 30-point lead, the Bills showed no mercy. With substitutes and freshmen in the ballgame, they continued to run offense – getting stymied for a brief period of time after the Cougars put on heavy ball pressure in the backcourt.
There were a number of stars for SLU on the evening, but aside from McCall Jr., perhaps the biggest catalyst for the 16-0 run was the Canadian enforcer Glaze.
Often thought of as a sparkplug for the Billikens, he yet again played the role of a junkyard dog.
"What I like about him most is that he is so tough," Forrester said. "He does the dirty work and fights inside. He's an undersized five-man or four-man or whatever you want to call him."
It was a tough night for the Cougars as a whole, but especially so for former Saint Louis guard Christian Salecich. The Aussie native hit on just one of his six attempts from the field.
The Cougars were led by 14 points from guard Donivine Stewart.
NEXT UP: The Billikens (2-0) head back on the road to face SIU-Carbondale on Saturday.