Billikens Win Exhibition Opener

ST. LOUIS — Sophomore forward Willie Reed made all nine of his shots from the field as Saint Louis downed Arkansas-Fort Smith 79-51 in its first exhibition game of the season Friday evening at Chaifetz Arena.

Reed finished with a game-high 19 points, while freshman forward Jon Smith chipped in with 10. The duo shared team-high honors in rebounds with seven apiece.

Nearly two minutes into the game, sophomore forward Brian Conklin put the first points on the board for either team with a layup. The teams swapped points before Reed's jumper at 12:59 ignited a 7-0 run by the Billikens. Smith scored on a layup less than a minute later and redshirt freshman Femi John's 3-pointer at 11:23 expanded SLU's lead to 17-9.

UA-Fort Smith, which is playing its first season at the NCAA Division II level, scored 10 points over the next five minutes to draw within four at 23-19.

But SLU responded with another seven-point burst to go up 30-19. A layup by freshman guard Christian Salecich at 5:42 kicked off the spree and he added a 3-pointer roughly 30 seconds later to put the Bills up 28-19. Reed closed the run with a layup at the four-minute mark to give SLU its largest lead to that point.

SLU headed into the locker room at halftime with a 37-29 advantage. Reed was six of six from the field to lead all players with 12 points. Smith hit all three of his shots and both free throws for eight points.

The Lions outscored the Bills 7-4 to begin the first half to close the gap to 41-36.

However, Saint Louis responded with 17-4 explosion to widen its lead to 58-40. Reed ignited SLU's rally with a layup at 15:13, and then completed a three-point play to make it 46-38. Freshman guard Justin Jordan got into the action with a layup at 13:19 before Reed scored on another dunk to make it 50-38. UAFS's Jason Jackson interrupted the rally with a basket at 12:30. But the Billikens weren't finished as sophomore guard Kyle Cassity added a layup and Conklin recorded a three-point play to finish the run.

SLU would stretch its lead to 20 on a Salecich layup with 8:47 remaining, and the Billikens built their lead all the way to 30 at 75-45 in the final minutes. Freshman guard Jeff Reid nailed a late 3-pointer, and freshman forward Cory Remekun broke into the scoring column with a late bucket. Smith nailed a jumper as time winded down for the final 79-51 victory.

Saint Louis shot 55 percent from the field and 31 percent from 3-point range. The Lions scored at a 39 percent clip and 29 percent from 3-point land. Josh Simmons led the squad with 11 points, while Dean Neville contributed nine points.

The Billikens continue exhibition play next Saturday, Nov. 7, at 2 p.m. versus St. Ambrose at Chaifetz Arena.

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