ST. LOUIS, Mo. – Saint Louis used a 14-4 run late in the second half to push past SIUE men's basketball 72-58 Saturday at Chaifetz Arena.
The three-point basket proved pivotal for the Billikens, 4-7, hitting 9 of 20 for the game. When SIUE had cut a second-half double-digit lead to 55-50 with 8:52 to play after a 12-0 run, SLU responded with baskets from beyond the three-point arc from Mike Crawford and Elliott Welmer.
"They were at home, and it was a game they had to have," said SIUE Head Coach Jon Harris. "They responded to a run. That's what you are supposed to do on your home floor."
The Cougars, 4-7, showed an unwillingness to back down from Saint Louis. SIUE won the battle of the boards 40-38, including 14 offensive rebounds.
"We did a great job of crashing the boards," said Harris. "We did a good job getting to the rim. I would have liked to see our guys finish a bit better, especially in the first half. I thought we missed a lot of second-chance opportunities that allowed them to build a little bit of a lead."
SLU, 4-7, grabbed a 43-29 lead by halftime, holding the Cougars to 25.7 percent shooting (9-35) from the field. The Billikens shot 57.1 percent (16-28) from the field in the opening 20 minutes.
Reggie Agbeko matched his career high with 20 points for Saint Louis, hitting 8 of 11 shots from the field.
"They were playing with a level of confidence," said Harris. "We didn't do a good enough job tonight."
Harris said the Cougars need to mentally move on to the next opponent with two more road contests coming up for the Cougars.
"It's going to be very challenging," he said. "We're going to have to be better than what we were tonight. We're going to have to refocus."
SIUE travels to Green Bay for a 7 p.m. contest Monday followed by a 7:30 p.m. Wednesday contest at Marquette, where Coach Harris played his college basketball.