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
"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.
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.