The St. Louis Billikens defended their home court Sunday night, defeating Rhode Island 60-53 to open up Atlantic 10 Conference play. It was also a sigh of relief knowing they could rebound so well after a dramatic exit from their star freshman forward, Cate'Are Gordon, who was granted his release from the team earlier in the week.

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"I didn't expect anything less. Certain things happen in life and you have to adapt and move on," said SLU head coach Travis Ford following the win.

"These guys have been very resilient in that manner," he said. "From our identity and how we play and how we need to win, that hasn't changed."

Javon Bess matched a career high with 24 points, which helped end the Rams' streak of five straight wins at Chaifetz.

Tramaine Isabell Jr. also scored 13 points while dishing out a team-high five assists. Hasahn French posted his second-straight double-double with 10 points and 11 boards.