Without Majerus, Saint Louis falls to Dayton 60-50
Dayton's Juwan Staten, left, heads to the basket as Saint Louis' Jordair Jett defends during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2011, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson) By Jeff Roberson
Dayton's Chris Wright, right, heads to the basket past Saint Louis' Rob Loe, left, during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2011, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson) By Jeff Roberson
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Saint Louis made Dayton sweat for its sixth straight victory. Ailing coach Rick Majerus, who watched from the living room instead of the sideline, had to be a little bit pleased.
Chris Wright had 14 points and 14 rebounds as the Flyers (13-3) won an Atlantic 10 opener, holding off a late rally in a 60-50 victory Wednesday night.
"We always talk to our guys about battling through some adversity, and that's what really makes a man and a team," Dayton coach Brian Gregory said. "Obviously, they've had their share of it. I hope coach Majerus is doing better."
Majerus gashed his left leg on the scorer's table in Saint Louis' loss to Bowling Green on Saturday and has an infection that the school anticipates will keep him out for three games. Associate head coach Porter Moser filled in for the 62-year-old Majerus, and Saint Louis twice cut the gap to six points in the late going.
"I was very pleased with the guys' attitude, effort, focus," Moser said. "Coach has given me so much leeway the last four years, I respect him so much and appreciate everything he lets me do."
Moser was a Division I head coach for seven years, including 2003-07 at Illinois State, before joining St. Louis.
Chris Johnson scored four of his 13 points in the final minute for the Flyers, who won their sixth in a row. Wright has two straight double-doubles and seven overall.
"I thought Chris Wright showed again why he's one of the best players in this league," Gregory said.
Kyle Cassity scored 12 points and Mike McCall added 11 points off the bench for Saint Louis (5-9), which has lost four in a row. The Billikens shot a season-worst 36.5 percent after missing their first 10 shots overall, and their first nine from 3-point range.
Players said it had nothing to do with Majerus' absence.
"Obviously, coach wasn't on the sideline calling the plays, but Coach Moser is more than capable of leading this team," guard Paul Eckerle said. "I thought he did a great job of getting us prepared, but players have got to play the games."
Saint Louis seemed to wilt after Majerus' injury, losing to lightly regarded Bowling Green. After the postgame news conference, Moser was set to break down the game with Majerus.
"The last couple days, coach has been taking care of his situation, which he had to," Moser said. "It wasn't a situation like the last game. They knew; they were prepared."
Four straight points by Johnson, a layup with 52 seconds to go and two free throws with 36 seconds left, made it 58-48 and helped Dayton put it away. Johnson has reached double figures in eight straight games.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)