ST. LOUIS — In a rare matchup with a team more depleted than them, SIU's nine players failed to close a road win against Saint Louis' seven-man roster Wednesday.
Center Kavion Pippen endured foul trouble for the first time this season, and the Billikens came up with all the big shots in a 74-69 upset at Chaifetz Arena.
Jordan Goodwin, a former star at Belleville Althoff High School, scored a game-high 20 points and guard Javon Bess hit two big 3s in the final five minutes to help Saint Louis end its four-game losing streak.
"We showed a lot of character to just move on, and to just control what you can control, and we've been tested on that a lot," said Saint Louis coach Travis Ford, who lost starting guard Davell Roby for the last 30 minutes because of what he described as an illness. "Just worry about the things you can control. We can't always control if the ball goes in the hole or not, but we can control what we do next, and I thought our team showed a lot of character when he went out."
Neither team led by more than six in the second half, and SIU (4-3) crashed and burned after Pippen fouled out with 3:25 to play. Nursing a 63-62 lead, the Salukis were outscored 12-6 the rest of the way in what could be a costly loss it seemed to have in control in front of an announced crowd of 5,633 fans.
Jonathan Wiley scored 19 points, Armon Fletcher added 12, and point guard Marcus Bartley, in his first game in over a year, scored 12 points in 23 minutes. The 6-foot-5 guard had a spine-tingling assist to a cutting Sean Lloyd along the baseline, bouncing it behind one defender right into the junior guard's hands before he laid it up. Bartley added two big 3-pointers, one to give SIU a 31-30 lead in the first half and the second to pull the team within three with 11 seconds left.
"I thought he played exceptionally well," SIU coach Barry Hinson said. "He hadn't played in a year and eight months, and you look at his stat line. He tried to split a ball-screen and he took, probably, one ill-advised 3, but I think you gotta look at it and go 'Wow.' It's no surprise that he got in foul trouble, because he's gonna be a little lax on defense, and I think you gotta give Travis and them guys some credit. They tried to drive him, and, kudos to them."
Bartley, Lloyd and Wiley finished the game with four fouls.
Forward Hasahn French and backup center Rashed Anthony finished the game with four fouls for Saint Louis (4-4).
Pippen scored 10 points in 26 minutes, sinking 4 of 7 from the field. He also grabbed a team-high five rebounds.