No. 16 Iowa Defeats Saint Louis, 67-58

AP Sports Writer

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Pierre Pierce scored 24 points and led a late 10-0 run that enabled No. 16 Iowa to finally pull away from surprisingly stubborn Saint Louis for a 67-58 victory Friday night.

Adam Haluska added 13 points and Jeff Horner 12 for the Hawkeyes (12-1), who had been hoping for a breezy tuneup for Wednesday’s Big Ten opener against Michigan. Instead, they had to dig themselves out of a hole against a team that was missing two starters and began the game with a lineup that had a combined scoring average of just 28.2 points.

The Billikens (2-10) outhustled Iowa on the boards, controlled the tempo and took advantage of numerous offensive lapses by the Hawkeyes. As a result, Saint Louis led 39-34 after two straight baskets by Justin Johnson less than four minutes into the second half.

A 12-2 run that included 3-pointers by Pierce and Haluska pulled Iowa ahead to stay, but the Hawkeyes couldn’t put the Billikens away for good until the final 5{ minutes.

With Iowa clinging to a 52-51 lead, Horner hit a 3-pointer from the left corner and that seemed to ignite the Hawkeyes. Pierce scored the next six points on two layups and a jumper, and Haluska followed with a free throw to make it 62-51 with 2:53 to play, enough of a cushion to hang on.

Izik Ohanon led Saint Louis with 15 points and Anthony Drejaj scored 14. The Billikens played without leading scorer Reggie Bryant (eye infection) and starting center Tom Frericks (concussion).

Greg Brunner had 10 points and 11 rebounds for Iowa, which shot 56 percent in the second half.

Saint Louis beat Iowa 70-69 in the first round of the NIT last season in St. Charles, Mo., a game marred by several scoreboard and clock malfunctions. The only thing that malfunctioned in this one was Iowa’s offense.

The Hawkeyes went 8{ minutes without a field goal during one stretch of the first half and rarely got into any kind of offensive flow. Saint Louis stuck with its patient offense and used a 6-0 run to take its first lead, 20-18.

The Billikens eventually got up by four and led 29-27 at halftime despite going scoreless the final 3:43 of the half.