St. Louis – For the first time since Mar. 18, the Saint Louis University Billikens got back on the court in competitive action.
While the absences of head coach Rick Majerus and star guard Kwamain Mitchell were visibly apparent, the squad didn't seem to be affected from the tip. Junior forward Dwayne Evans stepped up big with 21 points and eight rebounds to lead the Bills to a 76-59 victory in their home opener for the 2012-13 season over a tough USC-Upstate bunch.
The Billikens couldn't seem to get defensive stops early as Upstate hit on six of its first nine attempts from the field in building a 12-10 lead in the early going.
A quick 11-1 run, capped by an acrobatic layup from Jordair Jett, opened up a sizeable lead for SLU, as it pulled ahead 21-13.
Hot shooting by both teams continued into the half as SLU carried a 36-28 advantage into the locker room.
To begin the second 20 minutes, it was much more of the same. Both teams found their range out of the break and played back-and-forth basketball before Upstate went on a 7-0 burst to close the game within two with 13:12 to go.
The turning point in the game was arguably occurred with 8:54 left in the contest. With SLU clinging to a 54-51 lead, the Billikens went on a 13-2 run over the next 4:21 to put the game out of reach for good against an intense Spartans ballclub.
SLU punctuated the contest with eight more points before a Fred Miller three-pointer at the buzzer settled the final score.
Miller, along with Torrey Craig and Ty Greene were in double-figures for the Spartans.
The Billikens' next game is Wednesday, November 14 at home against Santa Clara. The tip is 7 P.M. (CT) and televised on Fox Sports Midwest.