ST. LOUIS -- Javon Bess and Tramaine Isabell Jr. scored 18 points apiece, and Saint Louis held off Southeast Missouri State’s second-half charge in a 75-65 season-opening victory Tuesday night at Chaifetz Arena.
The Billikens led 40-24 at halftime after building an 18-point cushion, and twice they stretched the margin to 22 in the second half.
Trailing 50-28 at the 13:47 mark, SEMO outscored Saint Louis 37-20 and trailed 70-65 with 38 seconds to play. But the Billikens sank five of six free throws and kept the Redhawks off the board the rest of the way.
Bess was 6-of-11 from the field, including two 3-pointers, and added five rebounds, three assists and a game-high three steals. He and Isabell tied SEMO’s Ledarrius Brewer for game-high scoring honors.
D.J. Foreman (5-of-6 FG) tallied 12 points, while Jordan Goodwin posted 11 points and six rebounds.
Hasahn French registered game highs of 12 rebounds and three blocks. French’s four assists matched his career best and tied for the game high.
Brewer also led SEMO with seven rebounds. Alex Caldwell scored 14 points for the Redhawks.
Saint Louis outscored SEMO 19-8 from the foul line and 22-6 in second-chance points.
Up next for the Billikens is Troy on Saturday, Nov. 10. Tip time at Chaifetz Arena is 7 p.m., and the game will be televised on FOX Sports Midwest.