Billikens Cruise Past UT Martin, 73-51
ST. LOUIS - The backcourt tandem of Jordair Jett and Mike McCall Jr. combined for 31 points, and Saint Louis used a hot-shooting first half to dispose of UT Martin 73-51 Saturday night at Chaifetz Arena.
The victory gave the Billikens (6-3) a season-high three-game winning streak heading into Wednesday night's home game against Eastern Illinois (7 p.m. tip). UT Martin of the Ohio Valley Conference slipped to 3-8 with its third straight loss and fifth defeat in six outings.
Jett tied his season high of 17 points on 6-of-7 shooting from the floor and a 5-of-6 effort from the foul line. He added a game-high four assists and a game-high and season-high-tying three steals.
McCall Jr., whose 4-of-7 shooting performance included 2-of-3 from beyond the arc, tallied a season-high 14 points. He was 4-of-4 from the stripe and tied his season high with four rebounds.
Dwayne Evans pulled down a game-high nine rebounds to lead Saint Louis to a 39-32 advantage on the boards. Evans was one of a quartet of Billikens who scored eight points, joining John Manning (career high), Jake Barnett and Cory Remekun. Barnett grabbed a career-high eight rebounds and tacked on a career-high three assists and a career-high-tying two steals.
Remekun recorded a game-high and team-season-high four blocks, while Grandy Glaze equaled his career best with four rebounds.
UT Martin, which shot just 34 percent from the field while being held to its season scoring low, got a game-high 20 points from Myles Taylor and six rebounds from Jeremy Washington.
The Skyhawks trailed just 9-8 when Taylor hit a 10-foot jumper, but the Billikens began to pull away on their next possession.
Rob Loe sparked a 9-0 run with two free throws. Manning followed with a short hook, and a Barnett free throw made it 14-8. Cody Ellis canned a 17-footer, and Jett finished the run with a short pull-up jumper for an 18-8 SLU advantage.
Taylor netted nine of his 15 first-half points in a stretch of six UT Martin possessions, but Saint Louis kept pace. The Billikens scored on eight of 10 touches to expand their lead to 34-20, with McCall Jr. tossing in six of his 11 first-half markers during that span.
Mike Liabo's runner and 3-pointer narrowed the SLU lead to 35-25, but SLU scored on five consecutive possessions in a 10-3 flurry to end the half.
Remekun started the run with a layup, and Barnett nailed a 3-pointer from the right wing. Manning followed with a short one-hander and a free throw, and Remekun's dunk concluded SLU's highest-scoring half of the season and sent the Bills to the locker room with a 45-28 cushion.
SLU connected on 58.6 percent (17-of-29) of its field goal attempts in the opening 20 minutes, its highest mark in a first half this season. The Billikens slipped to 32 percent in the second stanza, but it didn't matter as UT Martin never threatened.Loe's layup increased the margin to 20 points for the first time, 50-30. McCall Jr. buried a 3-pointer moments later for a 53-31 advantage, and the lead remained at 20 or above the rest of the way.