2:00 PM ET, February 5, 2006
Scottrade Center, St. Louis, Missouri
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- It's been nearly two years since Saint Louis' last three-game winning streak, so even after a convincing victory players needed time to get used to the feeling.Kevin Lisch scored 15 points in only 18 minutes and the Billikens, playing one of their most consistent overall games, held Xavier to 35-percent shooting Sunday in a 61-47 victory."It's a little surreal, I guess," center Ian Vouyoukas said. "I like it. We have high expectations for ourselves and hopefully we can carry through."Vouyoukas added 14 points and nine rebounds for Saint Louis (12-9, 6-3 Atlantic-10), who alternated wins and losses for the first 19 games of the season before hitting their most consistent stretch. They've won four of five overall, a run that began with a five-point victory at Xavier on Jan. 22.The difference, according to coach Brad Soderberg, is defense."The main reason it feels good is I think they get it," Soderberg said. "Not like they've been obstinate, but when you experience success by doing a certain thing well, they get it."Our offense is going to come and go but if they get it, that we have to defend the way they have the last couple of nights, I can't tell you how excited I am about that."The last time Saint Louis won three in a row was March 2004, when it won the regular-season finale over Houston and then beat Southern Miss and Memphis in the first two rounds of the Conference USA tournament. The school was 9-21 last season and won two straight only twice.Brian Thornton had 11 points for Xavier (13-6, 4-4), which has lost four of five starting with the first loss to Saint Louis. Before that, the Musketeers had won seven in a row and appeared poised to crack the Top 25.Coach Sean Miller said everyone's job would be open this week in practice."We have a couple of guys now who are in the tank," Miller said, declining to name names. "We have lost our toughness, our discipline, and those things have to be gotten back. Certainly, that's my job."Stanley Burrell, who averages 14.7 points as Xavier's second-leading scorer, had no points on 0-for-5 shooting. Xavier was only 1-for-12 from 3-point range.Consecutive 3-pointers by Luke Meyer and Anthony Drejaj gave Saint Louis, which has struggled most of the season from long range with 31-percent shooting, a 29-16 lead with 3:49 left in the half.The Billikens' lone dry spell of the game got Xavier back into the game. The Musketeers ended the half on a 9-2 run, hitting their last three shots while capitalizing on turnovers and defensive mistakes, to cut the gap to 31-25 at the break."It was a nice win, but we didn't capitalize on it," guard Dedrick Finn said. "They kind of took over."Lisch, limited to seven minutes in the first half due to foul trouble, led Saint Louis out of its funk at the start of the second half with five points in the first 1:56 to help the Billikens go up by 11. He was 3-for-5 from 3-point range."My teammates were driving and finding me open and I knocked down a couple of shots," Lisch said. "We just never let up because we knew what they were capable of doing."Saint Louis didn't miss Lisch because backup point guard Dwayne Polk, who lost his starting job earlier this season, had a strong game with three assists and consecutive steals at one point. The lead was never less than nine the rest of the way.
Team Stat Comparison
|FG Made-Attempted||19-54 (.352)||22-53 (.415)|
|3P Made-Attempted||1-12 (.083)||5-16 (.313)|
|FT Made-Attempted||8-11 (.727)||12-17 (.706)|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||20 (0/0)||13 (0/0)|