St. Louis builds early lead, wins 88-62

Sunday, December 16, 2001

ST. LOUIS -- Despite having won just once all season, Southeast Missouri State University's Indians had for the most part been competitive in virtually every game.

But that streak came to an end Saturday afternoon. The St. Louis University Billikens had their way just about the entire contest as they handed the Indians by far their most lopsided setback of the year, 88-62, in front of 10,474 fans at Savvis Center.

SLU improved to 4-5 as the Billikens posted their second consecutive victory. Southeast, coming off its lone triumph last Saturday against North Alabama, fell to 1-6.

"This was a good day for the Billikens," said SLU coach Lorenzo Romar. "When the game ended, we told our team nice job. That was it. When you can tell your team nice job and go on to the next practice, that doesn't happen very often.

"We had some rest, we had some time to practice and our team was much sharper. In all aspects of the game, I thought we were sharp. Regardless of who you're playing, if you play that way, you'll have a chance to do well."

The Billikens were indeed sharp, as reflected by their 49.3 percent field-goal shooting -- including 52.9 percent from 3-point range -- and 21 assists compared to just 11 turnovers.

On the other hand, the Indians were anything but sharp. Although they did shoot an impressive 51 percent from the floor, they had 24 turnovers.

Particularly bothersome to Southeast coach Gary Garner were the 14 turnovers his squad had in the first half, compared to only four for the Billikens. So even though the teams shot about even over the opening 20 minutes -- 48 percent for Southeast and 50 percent for SLU -- the Billikens entered the locker room with a commanding 49-28 lead.

"We shot the ball all right in the first half, but we had 10 more turnovers than them, so we gave them 10 more opportunities and that was the basketball game," Garner said. "And a lot of those turnovers were unforced, traveling and things like that.

"They're a better team than us, let's face it. But the turnovers let them get away from us and didn't let us stay within striking distance. The game was pretty much over at halftime."

The Indians never got closer than 17 points in the second half and the Billikens led by as many as 28 in the late going.

SLU's Drew Diener, a junior guard averaging 5.8 points per game, burned the Indians from the outside as he hit five of six 3-pointers and scored a career-high 18 points.

"I got a lot of good looks," said Diener. "Scouts are going to be keying in on Marquee (Perry) and Randy (Pulley) because they can get to the middle, so that will open up things for me."

Perry, SLU's ultra-quick junior guard, penetrated virtually at will and hit seven of 10 shots on his way to 17 points. Perry also had seven assists.

"I think today we came out and did a good job on both ends of the court," said Perry, the Billikens' leading scorer on the season at 15 points per game. "It felt good to come out and play as a team. We were penetrating, passing, finding the open man. If we do this more often, we can have a lot more wins."

The Billikens also got a huge game from 6-10 junior forward Chris Braun, who had his way on the inside with the smaller Indians. Braun, averaging 7.3 points per game, hit six of nine shots and scored 15 points.

"Perry is a really good player, just so quick, and Braun really hurt is in the first half," said Garner.

Southeast had two double-figure scorers as Derek Winans led the way with 18 points and Damarcus Hence added 10.

Except for the opening few minutes, there was really very little suspense.

Southeast scored the game's first basket as Winans came up with a steal and fed Demetrius King for a layup. Trailing 3-2, Scheer got a bucket and Drew DeMond hit two free throws for a 6-3 Southeast advantage.

But SLU scored the next eight points to go up 11-6 and the Billikens never looked back. The Indians got as close as 11-10, but another 8-0 SLU run made it 19-10 and the rout was pretty much on.

Perry and Braun each scored 13 first-half points -- combining to hit 10 of 14 shots -- to help the Billikens build their 21-point lead at the break.

For the game, SLU shot 33 of 67 from the field and nine of 17 from 3-point range. The Billikens also did not miss a free throw in 13 attempts.

Southeast was 26 of 51 from the floor and four of 14 from beyond the arc. The Indians were just six of 13 on free throws.

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