Billikens Beat UMass

ST. LOUIS — The Saint Louis University basketball team knew it had to slow down visiting Massachusetts on Saturday afternoon at Scottrade Center.

Fortunately for the Billikens, that is one of their specialties this season. Saint Louis put the clamps on visiting UMass and never trailed in earning a 71-59 Atlantic 10 Conference victory in front of 8,602.

"Defensively we wanted to slow them down in transition, because that's the majority of their offense," senior guard Danny Brown said. "Then once we stopped them in transition, we wanted to slow them down coming off the ball screens. We were able to do that pretty well."

Saint Louis (12-9, 3-4) did that very well.

The 59 points UMass (14-7 overall, 3-4 in A-10) scored were a season low, as was the team's shooting percentage of 30.3 (20 for 66). The Minutemen misfired on 19 of 21 3-point attempts. The two 3-pointers made and 9.5 percent were also season lows.

"They just outplayed us in every aspect if you look at the stat sheet," UMass coach Travis Ford said. "From more points to more rebounds to more assists to more blocks to more steals — pretty much every category. Give them a lot of credit. They looked ready to go and we looked like a team that's been on the road for four or five days now."

Saint Louis (12-9, 3-4) finished the game with more field goals made (25-20), more 3-pointers made (3-2), more rebounds (44-40), more assists (16-4), more blocked shots (8-6) and more steals (5-3).

"Give them credit," Ford said. "They were a much tougher basketball team than we were. We obviously couldn't get anything to fall. Their defense had a lot to do with it. But we just got outplayed in pretty much every category."

SLU had three players in double figures. Junior guards Tommie Liddell III and Kevin Lisch scored 16 points apiece and Brown scored 14 points in 29 minutes off the bench. Liddell also had nine rebounds, as did senior forward Luke Meyer.

Brown also had a game-high five assists.

"He is giving us a lift," coach Rick Majerus said. "Again, the kid didn't pick up a ball until January. I can't tell you how much I love that kid for his passion for the game. It is a tribute to a kid who loves to play and recognizes the seconds are starting to wind down."

Saint Louis never trailed in the game. The teams were only tied once, at 4-4.

The Billikens held a 12-4 lead less than five minutes in and led by as many as 13 points with 3 minutes, 22 seconds remaining in the first half before UMass closed out the half with a 9-2 run.

Trailing 34-28 at halftime, the Minutemen looked to be ready to make a charge when they scored the first two baskets of the second half. But then SLU went on a 10-0 run to push its lead back to 12 points.

The Billikens led by 16 points with 12:00 remaining and UMass was never able to trim that deficit to a manageable margin down the stretch.

"I was real proud of them," Majerus said. "For the most part, we controlled the tempo of game. We had some shots drop. It was a nice win for us. I thought we guarded well."

UMass entered the contest averaging 84.4 points per game, up from 77.3 per game last season when the Minutemen went 24-9 and advanced to the second round of the NIT.

UMass senior forward Gary Forbes led all scorers with 20 points, while junior guard Chris Lowe had 14 and senior forward Etienne Brower added 12 points off the bench.

Sophomore guard Ricky Harris, who entered the contest averaging 20 points per game, finished with six points on two-of-14 shooting, including missing all nine of his 3-point attempts.

"I never really got into the flow of the game," Harris said.

The Billikens return to action on Thursday against visiting Xavier in an 8 p.m. game that will be televised nationally on ESPN2.

Box Score


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