WASHINGTON (AP) -- Rick Majerus knew it would take some time to get Saint Louis playing the kind of successful basketball he's used to getting from his teams. He couldn't have expected a game like Thursday night's.
Saint Louis set a modern Division I record for fewest points in a game, falling 49-20 to George Washington in the Atlantic 10 opener for both teams.
The Billikens (9-6), playing their first season under Majerus, missed 23 consecutive shots at one point and finished 7-for-48 (14.6 percent) from the field, including 1-for-19 from 3-point range. They trailed 25-7 at halftime.
"I thought GW played tough on defense. We had some issues. You have to credit GW for playing very well. We have some issues in terms of our offensive proficiency," Majerus said. "I tried to keep coaching the game. Sometimes you miss. We are a team that has some issues. That is why we are practicing [Friday]. We did miss some good shots, yes. Anyone can look at us and see we don't have height, we don't have depth."
The previous low since the shot clock was introduced in 1985-86 was 21 by Georgia Southern in a 40-point loss to Coastal Carolina in 1997. It was matched by Princeton in a 20-point loss to Monmouth in 2005.
The fewest points ever by a Division I team was set by Arkansas State in a 75-6 loss to Kentucky in 1945. It was matched by Temple in an 11-6 loss to Tennessee in 1973.
Reserve Bryce Husak led the Billikens with five points.
Saint Louis scored the fewest points in a half by an opponent in the history of the Smith Center, which opened in 1975.
The Billikens missed their first nine shots before Luke Meyer connected midway through the first half to pull Saint Louis within 11-3. Kevin Lisch followed with a basket that gave him 1,000 points for his career and made it 11-5.
The Billikens got a layup from Barry Eberhardt with 8:39 left in the first half and their next basket came with 10:39 to play. By then the Billikens trailed 38-10.
"We have challenges and issues with the makeup of the team," Majerus said. "I thought we played hard. We didn't always play smart."
The 59-year-old Majerus returned to coaching for the first time since retiring in 2004 after holding the Southern California job for three days. Majerus, who signed a six-year contract, went to 11 NCAA tournaments in 20 seasons, has never had a losing season, and began this year with a career record of 422-147 at Ball State, Marquette and Utah.
The current roster was recruited by former coach Brad Soderberg.
"It's like being a step-parent. I didn't pick them. They didn't pick me," Majerus said of the players. "They are trying hard. They are trying. It is a process. The effort is good. If it wasn't I would say it publicly."
Saint Louis was 3-for-25 from the field in the first half, including missing all eight 3-point attempts. George Washington blocked seven shots in the first half and had a season-high 11 in the game, five by Rob Diggs.
"We challenged every shot," Colonials coach Karl Hobbs said.