ST. LOUIS -- The shots just would not fall for Saint Louis. As usual, there were more than enough stops at the other end of the court.
Dwayne Evans had 21 points and 10 rebounds and Jordair Jett lacked a rebound for his first career double-double, leading the 24th-ranked Billikens to a 70-48 rout over Fordham on Saturday. They won easily despite shooting 38.5 percent."It says we're a very, very good defensive team," Jett said. "We look at defense as a scoring option, really."Saint Louis (17-2, 4-0 Atlantic 10), which has won 11 straight games, held Fordham (7-10, 0-4) to season lows for first half and game scoring on 29 percent shooting."One of the great staples of these guys is we win all different kinds of ways," coach Jim Crews said. "It's great how they go about their business."Hey, the only stat that counts, they're doing a good job with that."Jett had 18 points, nine rebounds and six assists and topped 1,000 career points with two free throws late in the game. He had eight rebounds in the first half, already topping his previous career best by one."A lot of the fans probably think some of the teams we beat weren't good and they were expecting us to win," Jett said. "In reality, we had our scouting, we had to work hard, make sure everything was right, have all the little things down pat."Jon Severe had 22 points on 9-for-25 shooting for Fordham, which has lost six straight and trails the series 9-1. The other half of the highest-scoring duo in the conference, Branden Frazier, was scoreless on 0-for-10 shooting."We're a young team, I have no illusions," coach Tom Pecora said. "For us to come in and win, we have to have four, if not five, guys play `A' games, and we have to catch them flat."That's how good they are and that's where we are in this process with one senior and one junior that play a bit."The Rams' point total was their lowest by 10."We did a great job on Frazier, I really like him," Crews said. "It was team defense, it wasn't just one guy."Mike McCall added 12 points and seven rebounds for Saint Louis, showing signs of breaking out of a scoring slump. He totaled six points on 2-for-15 shooting the previous three games."I'm optimistic," Crews said. "He shoots it pretty well in practice."Fordham shot 19 percent in the first half and trailed 30-16, by far the lowest first-half total for a school averaging 76.6 points. Saint Louis scored the first seven points of the second half, including two baskets inside from Evans to cap a 13-0 run that made it 39-16."The shots just weren't falling," Jett said. "Our defensive intensity picked us up. We forced some turnovers and got some easy buckets off our defense."The Rams made only two of their first 23 shots, including 0 for 6 by Frazier and 1 for 8 by Severe. Saint Louis needed time to capitalize because it missed its first nine 3-point attempts, three by McCall, and was 1 for 15 from long range in the half."We took some tough shots early and put ourselves in a hole," Pecora said. "We got a couple really good looks in the course of that and you've got to knock those down."Strong defense helped the Billikens establish control. Grandy Glaze and John Manning blocked shots during a 13-0 run that included 8-for-8 free throw shooting that made it 22-7 with 4:43 to go.Fordham's previous first-half low was 28 points against Richmond. It was Saint Louis' stingiest first half by a point."It's growing pains," Pecora said. "They're so young, I'm cutting their meat at the pre-game meal."