ST. LOUIS -- Western Michigan took command with a 19-3 second-half run and held off a late Saint Louis rally to defeat the Billikens 65-51 Tuesday night at Chaifetz Arena.
The Broncos of the Mid-American Conference improved to 4-3, while the Billikens fell to 3-3.
Javon Bess led Saint Louis with 14 points, including 6-of-6 from the foul line. Jordan Goodwin (6-of-10 FG) tallied 13 points, grabbed a team-high seven rebounds and made a game-high three steals. Jalen Johnson tossed in 10 points.
A tip-in by Bess and a Goodwin 3-pointer on SLU’s first two second-half possessions turned a one-point halftime deficit into a 27-23 Billiken lead.
Western Michigan’s Bryce Moore answered Goodwin’s trey with one of his own, and a short jumper by Drake Lamont put the Broncos ahead to stay, 28-27.
WMU increased the margin to six before buckets by Johnson and Bess pulled Saint Louis to within two at 38-36. But the Billikens were held to one field goal over a span of almost nine minutes while the Broncos gradually built their cushion to 57-39 with 4:32 remaining.
Saint Louis narrowed the gap to eight, 59-51, with a 10-0 spurt that culminated with two Bess free throws at the 1:39 mark. Moore drilled the last of his four 3-pointers (4-of-5) on Western Michigan’s next possession, however, to restore a double-digit advantage.
The largest lead for each team was four points in a first half marred by cold shooting. Saint Louis connected on 36 percent (8-of-22), including just 1-of-8 from 3-point range, while Western Michigan shot just 32 percent (8-of-25).
There were six ties and nine lead changes in the opening frame. The final swap occurred with 1.1 second remaining when Thomas Wilder sank two free throws for a 23-22 Western Michigan halftime lead.
Wilder and Josh Davis registered game highs of 16 points and 13 rebounds, respectively. Moore finished with 14 points, while Brandon Johnson contributed 10 points and eight boards. Drake Lamont had seven rebounds and a game-high five assists for the Broncos, who shot 50 percent (15-of-30) overall and 56 percent (5-of-9) from the arc in the second half.