Billikens Win Season Opener At Chaifetz

ST. LOUIS — Kwamain Mitchell and Tommie Liddell III helped Saint Louis christen Chaifetz Arena with a 48-33 win over Missouri-St. Louis in front of 7,170 fans in the season opener on Friday night.

Billiken head coach Rick Majerus improved to 21-1 in season openers with the victory.

Mitchell led SLU with 16 points and five assists, while Liddell III also finished in double figures with 12 points and eight rebounds. Barry Eberhardt turned in a game-high nine rebounds.

Jason Black led the Tritons with eights points.

UMSL controlled the opening tip and Jason Black scored the first points of the night on a jumper from the right side. Mitchell posted SLU's first tally in Chaifetz Arena, making one of three free throws after being fouled on a 3-pointer.

Kwamain Mitchell scored 16 points (Jeff Roberson/AP)

Liddell III knotted the score at 2-2 after knocking down a free throw at the 18:23 mark. Black put the Tritons back on top with a pair of free throws, but Liddell III converted on a jump shot to even things up at 4-4.The Tritons went up by five after Black scored on a layup and Nathan Whittaker nailed a 3-pointer.

The Billikens earned their first lead of the night at 10-9 after responding with a 6-0 run that started with a layup from Liddell III and included a Brian Conklin tip in and a pair of Brett Thompson free throws. UMSL's Tim Green hit a jumper to give his team a one-point edge but Liddell III and Mitchell scored consecutive 3-pointers to regain a five-point advantage at 16-11.

A six-point spurt allowed the Tritons to retake the 17-16 lead at the 5:46 mark. SLU's Paul Eckerle nailed a three pointer and Thompson laid one in to put the Bills back on top 21-17.

Aaron Jackson cut the margin to two on a jumper in the lane but that was as close as UMSL would get the rest of the half as Mitchell scored four points in the final 45 seconds of the half to send Saint Louis into the locker room with a 25-19 lead.

The Billikens enjoyed a 17-9 advantage on the glass in the opening half.

SLU scored six points in the first three minutes of the second half to extend the lead to 31-21. However, the Bills then suffered through a scoring drought that lasted nearly seven minutes.

During SLU's dry spell, UMSL cut the deficit to four with three straight buckets. Mitchell ended the drought with a 3-pointer at the 10:14 mark that gave the Billikens a 34-27 lead.

The Bills pushed the margin back to 10 points at 41-31 with less than five minutes remaining on buckets from Willie Reed and Liddell III and a 3-pointer from Kyle Cassity.

The Tritons got no closer than eight points the rest of the way as Saint Louis held UMSL scoreless for the final three minutes and 20 seconds of the game to cruise to the victory.

SLU returns to action on Wednesday, Nov. 19, when it hosts Kent State at 7 p.m. at Chaifetz Arena.

Box Score | Play-by-Play

The Billikens opened Chaifetz Arena with a victory (Jeff Roberson/AP)

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