Billikens Pull Out Victory

ST. LOUIS — Fortunate. That's the word both Luke Meyer and Barry Eberhardt used to describe the Saint Louis University basketball team's 52-48 victory over Long Beach State on Saturday afternoon at Scottrade Center.

The Billikens led by 15 points with 13 minutes and 14 seconds remaining in the second half only to see that lead disappear. Long Beach State led for the first time with 2:00 left, but SLU was able to get some defensive stops down the stretch to pull out the non-conference victory.

"We are fortunate to get a win because we were up by 15 and we let them back in," said Meyer, a senior forward. "When we get them down by 15 we have to keep coming and we can't relax. I'm not saying we relaxed, but we have to keep pushing full-throttle and extend that lead even further and not give them a chance to get back in it."

Eberhardt, a junior forward, said: "It was very fortunate. We gave a big lead up, but we got the win, so that's all that matters."

Saint Louis (6-3) got nine points from Eberhardt, eight points apiece from Meyer and junior guard Kevin Lisch and seven points each from junior guard Tommie Liddell III and senior guard Dwayne Polk.

Barry Eberhardt (Bill Boyce/AP)
SLU made just 38.5 percent of its shots (20 of 52) and was four of 14 from behind the 3-point arc. Lisch, Liddell and freshman guard Paul Eckerle were a combined seven-for-31 (23 percent) shooting.

"They just weren't going in," Lisch said. "Pretty much every season players go through ups and downs. I'm not concerned about it. I could care less. Luke really got some good stops at the end. Barry made a couple shots. Polk was out there being a pest. It was a good win."

Donovan Morris led Long Beach State (1-5) with 14 points off the bench. Brian Freeman added 11 points off the bench, while Artis Gant came off the bench to score 10. LBSU's bench accounted for 37 of its 48 points.

Long Beach made six of eight 3-point attempts in the second half after missing seven of eight in the first half. LBSU outscored SLU 31-30 in the second half.

"I thought Long Beach did a real good job of being extremely competitive and playing their butt off," SLU coach Rick Majerus said. "They are in the same league as Pacific, so that will be interesting to see. They utilize their personnel well."

The 49ers knocked down five 3-pointers during the 25-9 run that saw them cut the deficit from 15 to leading by one, 48-47, after Freeman made two free throws with 2:00 remaining.

SLU got the lead back with 1:45 left when Lisch knocked down two free throws. From that point, LBSU turned the ball over twice and the 49ers missed the only two shots they were able to take.

"It was on our defense," Meyer said. "Good teams get stops when it matters. I think that's a good point for us, a good sign, because good teams make stops when it matters."

Lisch added a free throw with 16 seconds left and Meyer made two free throws with 2 seconds remaining to put the Billikens ahead by four points.

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