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ST. LOUIS - Drury turned a showdown for sole possession of first place in the Great Lakes Valley Conference West into a blowout, rolling past Maryville 78-37 on Thursday night at Moloney Arena.
The Panthers, with their fourth straight triumph, moved to 12-4 overall and 6-2 in the GLVC, while Maryville dropped to 15-5 and 5-3.
Alex Hall led five Panthers in double-figures with 15 points, while Teddy Simniok had 12 points, Brandon Lockhart added 11 points and Drake Patterson and Cameron Adams finished with 10 points each.
The Panthers also claimed a whopping 40-21 rebounding advantage, led by Hall's season-high eight.
Drury finished the first half on a 24-10 run to break open a tight game and take a 38-23 lead into the halftime break. The Panthers then came out and left no doubt about the outcome in the first 10 minutes of the final half, quickly building their lead to 30 points (62-32) and coasting to the triumph.
The Saints went from the 13:40 mark to 4:07 left without scoring a point in the second half, as Drury put up a 17-0 run during that stretch and continued to play the kind of stifling, pressure defense that coach Steve Hesser said was a key to DU's quick start to the season ... but had diminished around the holiday break.
Maryville shot a season-worst 26 percent from the field (11 for 42) and committed 20 turnovers against the DU pressure. The 37 points by the Saints was a low by a Drury opponent this season, and 30 points below Maryville's season average.
"I thought we did an excellent job of collective defense ... that's the best we've played defensively in 2013 for an extended amount of time," Hesser said. "Halfway through the first half we got to moving the basketball better on offense ... and then in the second half we really did a good job defensively, and offensively, stepped up and made some shots. We passed it enough and shared it enough that we got it in good spots."
Gerald Shaw had 10 points as the only Saints player to reach double figures. Asa Toney, the team's leading scorer at 16 points per game, finished with seven, all in the first half.
Lockhart, the GLVC's leader in assists per game at 6.4, had a team-leading six and Hall added five as the Panthers had 20 assists to 16 turnovers. Drury shot 52 percent (26 of 50) from the field for the contest.
The Panthers will visit Missouri-St. Louis in a 3:15 p.m. tipoff on Saturday, a matchup of the teams picked 1-2 (UMSL-Drury) in the GLVC West preseason poll.
"I told them (we) don't celebrate in-season successes, so congratulations ... but there is another game this weekend," Hesser said.
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