ST. LOUIS (AP) -Rick Majerus may be in for a challenge in his coaching comeback, judging from Saint Louis' uneven play Friday night in its lone exhibition game.
Kevin Lisch scored 20 points and Tommie Liddell III had 14 in a ragged 71-54 victory over Division II Missouri-St. Louis. Attendance was estimated at about 8,000 in the 21,000-seat Scottrade Center, an increase over exhibitions in past seasons but well shy of event status.
That could reflect a wait-and-see approach from the school's fans, even with the high-profile Majerus on the sideline. Majerus, who got a six-year contract in April, has never had a losing season in 20 years of coaching and has taken 11 teams to the NCAA tournament.
Majerus, back in coaching for the first time since 2004, inherited four starters from a 20-win team that wasn't selected for the NCAA or NIT. The Billikens were tested at times by Missouri-St. Louis, 9-18 last season and picked to finish sixth out of seven teams in the Great Lakes Valley Conference West division.
Saint Louis shot 51 percent using a style that didn't look much different, if at all, from last season when Brad Soderberg was the coach. The Billikens played under control and worked the clock much of the game as Majerus, clad in turtleneck sweater, stood and watched, often with both hands stuffed in his pockets.
Liddell, Saint Louis' leading scorer last season, was not in the starting lineup although he was first off the bench. Majerus' opening lineup had Barry Eberhardt, a transfer from Coffeyville, Kan., Community College, and Luke Meyer at forwards. Adam Knollmeyer started at center ahead of 7-foot Bryce Husak, who is recovering from a stress fracture in his left foot, with Lisch and Dwayne Polk at guard.
Eberhardt added 12 points and five rebounds for Saint Louis.
Sky Frazier had 15 points and Paul Paradoski 10 for Missouri-St. Louis. The Tritons are the foil for another state school on Saturday, playing at Missouri.
T on Nov. 9 in the Hispanic College Fund Classic in Pittsburgh. The home opener is against Detroit on Nov. 14.
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