CARBONDALE, Ill. – Saint Louis rallied from an early deficit and withstood a late Southern Illinois charge in a 76-67 victory over the Salukis Saturday night at SIU Arena.
SLU has won back-to-back non-conference road wins for the first time since the 1997-98 season. The Billikens improve to 3-0 overall, while Southern Illinois dips to 0-2.
Mike McCall Jr. tied his career high with 19 points. He also gathered a career high nine rebounds. Dwayne Evans scored 13 points, 12 of which came in the final eight minutes of play and helped SLU maintain its lead.
Jordair Jett dished out a career-high-tying eight assists and recorded one steal to move into the top 10 on the Billikens’ all-time list. He is tied with H Waldman and Chris Brown for 10th with 125 career steals.
Jake Barnett finished one point away from his career best with 12 points. He nailed three 3-pointers in the first half to help SLU claw back into the game.
The Billikens trailed by 12 – their largest deficit of the season – in the first half before a 10-0 run brought SLU back into the game. Barnett keyed the spurt with his first of three first-half 3-pointers. A Rob Loe tip-in and an Austin McBroom jumper pulled the Billikens to within three at 32-29 with two minutes remaining in the half.
Saint Louis took a one-point lead into halftime thanks to Barnett’s hot shooting. He drained a trey with a little more than a minute left to bring SLU within two. After a McBroom steal several seconds later, Barnett hit another from long range to give the Billikens the lead for the first time. SIU hit a basket on the other end before McBroom nailed an 18-footer at the buzzer to send SLU into the locker room leading 37-36.
SLU built a 10-point lead in the second half, but Southern Illinois did not go down quietly. After a McCall trey put SLU on top 57-47 with 10:45 remaining, SIU went on an 8-0 run to pull within two with less than 10 minutes to play. McCall hit a clutch jumper with five minutes remaining to give SLU a three-point cushion.
With less than four minutes to go, Evans hit four consecutive free throws to put SLU up by seven. The Salukis would not get closer than five to the lead, and the Billikens hit their free throws down the stretch to post the nine-point victory.
Saint Louis is back in action Thursday, Nov. 21, when it face Oral Roberts at Chaifetz Arena at 7 p.m. SLU then faces Bowling Green Saturday, Nov. 23, at Chaifetz Arena in another 7 p.m. tipoff. Bot games are part of the Cancun Challenge and will be televised by FOX Sports Midwest.