EDWARDSVILLE — Identifying the turning point of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville's game against St. Louis University on Wednesday was elementary.
The Billikens (2-0) busted open a close contest with a 16-0 run during a 4-minute, 38-second span in the first half and blew past the Cougars 82-58 before a sellout crowd of 4,007 at Vadalabene Center.
"We have to play 40 minutes of basketball," said SIUE junior Donivine Stewart, whose 14 points led the Cougars (0-2). "We played great in the first six, seven minutes. We let up and they went on a run. We didn't execute like we were supposed to.
"It was deadly --a 16-0 run. I mean, it just can't happen, and we know that. We've got things to fix."
SLU was every bit as impressive as the Cougars anticipated. The Billikens took the lead for good when senior Jordair Jett scored on a dribble-drive to make it 10-8 with 14:28 left in the first half.
Cougars junior Rozell Nunn's 3-pointer trimmed the Billikens' advantage to 15-13 at the 11:56 mark. But six SLU players contributed points in the ensuing surge that ended when junior Grandy Glaze scored to make it 31-13 with 6:06 to play.
It was 46-21 at halftime, and SLU's lead grew to 32 points (74-42) with 3:43 to play. By then, many of the fans were heading home.
"SLU's a good team," SIUE coach Lennox Forrester said. "They execute well both offensively and defensively. ... The way they played defense just took us out of a whole lot.
"I thought our guys came out with some fight. Part of it was a tribute to our fans and the crowd and the atmosphere --all that. But St. Louis came at us and we didn't come back at them."
Jett led all scorers with 16 points. Senior Mike McCall had 14 points, all in the first half, for the Billikens, while senior Dwayne Evans scored 14 points and had six assists. Sophomore Austin McBroom came off the bench and generated 10 points and four assists.
It was the 6-foot-6 Glaze, however, who set the tone for the Billikens. He finished with nine points and a game-best 14 rebounds, missing a chance for a double-double when he couldn't connect on a free throw with 1:53 to play in the game.
"It seemed like Grandy was getting a lot of rebounds," Billikens coach Jim Crews said. "When he rebounds and runs the floor, that puts pressure on situations, and that was good."
Crews wasn't just pleased with Glaze.
"We played very, very well tonight," he said. "We were excellent defensively and that ignited our offense in terms of running the floor. We were able to get Edwardsville in a little bit of a scramble defensively."
SLU shot 55 percent (29-for-53), outrebounded the Cougars 37-28 and recorded 17 assists. SIUE shot 40 percent (22-for-55) and was just 3-for-14 on 3-pointers. The Cougars also also hurt themselves from the free-throw line, going 11-for-21. Senior Ray Lester, who scored 10 points, was 4-for-10 from the line.
The Cougars played most of the game without junior shooting guard Kris Davis, who sprained his right ankle in the first half.
Davis, who didn't start, left the bench with 13:15 to play and returned with a boot on his foot.
"I'm not sure how long he will be out or anything like that," Forrester said. "But it's a badly sprained ankle."
Forrester said Davis didn't start because he sensed he was getting overly comfortable. The two talked last Friday as the Cougars traveled to Arkansas, but Davis hadn't responded.
"It's kind of a motivational thing as far as trying to get him to go," Forrester said. "I didn't see the change that I need for him to help this basketball team, so the next thing to do was to take him out of the starting lineup and see if that worked."
Contact reporter David Wilhelm at firstname.lastname@example.org or 239-2665.