Eberhardt Sparks Billikens

ST. LOUIS — Barry Eberhardt was a little mad at himself after missing two easy shots in the early part of Saint Louis University's nonconference home game against Loyola-Chicago on Wednesday night.

"Easy ones," the junior power forward said, shrugging. "I don't understand myself sometimes. I'm just gonna keep striving to get better every day."

But Eberhardt, a transfer from Coffeyville Community College, redeemed himself later with perhaps his finest game of the season. Eberhardt came off the bench to tie his season-high with 16 points and also had five rebounds and four assists in a 60-43 victory at Scottrade Center.

"He gave a good effort tonight," SLU coach Rick Majerus said. "Barry's issues have been effort issues. A lot of times your success correlates with your effort. Hopefully he continues to try to give a better effort."

Eberhardt had been struggling.

He had two points and four personal fouls in 12 minutes against Southern Illinois. He was scoreless in seven minutes against Sam Houston State and did not play in the second half. He had five points at Boston College.

"I just felt I had to wake up, not use any excuses, just be myself, play ball and have fun," Eberhardt said.

The 6-foot-6 forward has started eight of 13 games. He is third on the team in scoring, at 8.3 points per game, and second in rebounding (4.5) and blocked shots (eight).

Eberhardt, who played 22 minutes on Wednesday, was upbeat afterward.

Asked about his two 3-pointers, his third and fourth of the season, he said: "I showed you all the J, a little 3 ball."

Asked about the assists, he said: "You see me drop some dimes, show off my passing. It's all good. We got the win. That's the most important thing in the world."

Asked what got him going, he said: "Just defense. Just pick up my intensity on defense. It got me going. And my teammates too. You make a few passes and get a few easy layups and some defensive stops, it just makes it all better for everybody."

That was certainly the case in the second half. Saint Louis (8-5) led 23-21 at halftime, but came out of the intermission looking like a team that had all the answers.

The Billikens moved the ball around well on offense and started knocking down shots. SLU made eight of its first nine shot attempts in the second half and used a 14-2 run to build a 14-point lead with 8 minutes, 51 seconds left.

"We started setting good picks," junior guard Tommie Liddell III said. "We came into the locker room and coach said we need to set better picks. In the second half, we came out and set better picks and we got wide-open shots."

Saint Louis shot 70 percent in the second half (14 of 20) and 51.2 percent for the game (22 of 43).

"We had a lot of great shots in the first half but we were missing some of them," Liddell said. "Coach told us to keep shooting and in the second half they started falling."

Loyola Chicago (4-6) made 36.4 percent (eight of 22) of its first-half shots, including three 3-pointers, but shot just 28 percent in the second half (seven of 25) and did not make a 3-pointer. The Ramblers did not connect on a field goal attempt in the final 7:50 of the game.

"We've been having some intense practices and it's starting to carry over to the games," Eberhardt said. "I think it's better we have these intense practices because it keeps everybody more focused. It's starting to work out. Everybody is starting to understand their roles, so it's getting better."

The Billikens had three players score in double-figures. In addition to Eberhardt's 16, SLU got 13 points from Liddell and 12 from junior guard Kevin Lisch. Senior forward Luke Meyer added eight.

Sophomore guard Mike Jones' free throw with 8.2 seconds remaining gave Saint Louis its largest lead of the night, at 17 points.

The Billikens don't play again until Dec. 29 when they host IUPUI at 7 p.m. at Scottrade Center.

"I'm really looking forward to practice," Majerus said. "I'm practicing once tomorrow, twice Thursday. We are practicing at 6:30 a.m. on Saturday, because I want to go home and see my mom.

"They were very understanding of that in regards to me getting back to see my mom, so I appreciate that from them, because it's really not fair to them to bring them in at 6:00 on Saturday morning. They have to develop a culture of basketball and a work ethic for it. I'm excited because we get a chance to practice, whereas all we have done for 39 days is play games."

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