So it was Temple that pulled out a hard-fought 54-53 victory over Saint Louis in overtime on Sunday afternoon.
"Temple did a good job," SLU coach Rick Majerus said. "They played a good game. They are a very good team, they are exceptionally talented. You have to give them a lot of credit. I thought our guys fought hard and tried, for the most part, to the best of their ability."
"We played real hard but we made some mistakes there down the stretch," said SLU junior guard Kevin Lisch. "We didn't get up some shots. But we'll just come back and learn from it."
Lisch led Saint Louis with 17 points, including three 3-pointers, and two steals. Junior guard Tommie Liddell III added 12 points and a game-high nine rebounds. Senior forward Luke Meyer had nine points and seven rebounds and senior guard Danny Brown scored seven off the bench.
The Billikens shot 38 percent (19 of 50) from the field and 31.3 percent (five of 16) from beyond the 3-point arc. SLU did not make a shot from the field during the 5-minute overtime period.
Temple (8-8 overall, 2-1 in A-10) shot 34.5 percent (20 of 58) from the field and 31 percent (nine of 29) from 3-point range.
"I think they are a terrific defensive basketball team and gave us everything we could handle on that end," Temple coach Fran Dunphy said. "I hope our guys did a good job on the defensive end as well."
Guard Dionte Christmas led Temple with a game-high 20 points, including five 3-pointers, despite facing tough defense from Lisch.
Christmas made two 3-pointers late in the second half that turned a five-point deficit into a one-point lead with 4 minutes and 30 seconds remaining.
Meyer tied the score at 47-47 with a 3-pointer with 1:20 left, before Temple's Mark Tyndale scored onside with a short bank shot off the dribble with 46 seconds remaining.
Lisch tied the game with a floater in the lane with 30 seconds left and the teams went into overtime after Tyndale missed a jumper with 2 seconds remaining and Liddell's half-court shot at the buzzer was off target.
SLU trimmed the deficit to one after two free throws apiece by freshman guard Paul Eckerle and Meyer, but wouldn't score again.
The Billikens got the ball for their final possession with 19 seconds left, but couldn't get off a shot. Lisch lost control of his dribble in the final seconds and, on a controversial play, was called for a backcourt violation after the ball was knocked away into the backcourt.
"We had a play, a little flare for Luke to get a jump shot," Lisch said, "but they switched it so Tommie penetrated and kicked it out to me and (then) over and back."