“We had a good blend of inside and out,” SLU head coach Rick Majerus said. “That’s a good team. They won their league last year and I guarantee they win it again this year.”
Sophomore Dwayne Evans and senior Brian Conklin combined to shoot 10-for-13 in the first 20 minutes, and they imposed their will in the paint outscoring ASU 27-8 inside in the first frame.
“The guys played hard,” Majerus said. “Dwayne was excellent in every facet. He came out with great purpose.”
The holidays weren’t a hindrance to the Billikens on this night.
“We just said, ‘Don’t take an early Christmas break,’” Conklin said. “It was good to get it done and it feels good.”
The visiting Red Wolves struggled to find their rhythm and allowed numerous second-chance opportunities. The second half proved more of the same as SLU used an 11-0 run to widen the lead to 47-20.
Kwamain Mitchell and Kyle Cassity combined for just five points, but dished out ten assists between the two of them.
“I don’t look at that,” Majerus said. “All of Kyle’s shots were good. He didn’t take a bad shot. . .he’s got to look to score.”
After beating Atlantic 10’s Saint Bonaventure with a big second half, Arkansas State couldn’t muster up the performance needed to make a comeback against SLU.
“They beat Bonnies at Bonnies,” Majerus said. “We didn’t do that last year.”
Trey Finn led ASU with 12 points, and Malcoln Kirkland chipped in with 10 in the losing effort.
NOTES: Majerus made a point of thanking all-time great coach Bobby Knight for stopping by their practice this week while he was in town for Missouri-Illinois. He said Knight spoke to the entire team and then each individual player.
Saint Louis faces Texas Southern on Dec. 27th before heading to New Mexico on New Year’s Eve for a showdown with the Lobos.