Saint Louis Defeats Samford

ST. LOUIS — Saint Louis U. senior guard Tommie Liddell III scored a season-high 20 points as the Billikens coasted to a 70-49 victory over Samford Saturday at Chaifetz Arena.

SLU has now won two straight and moves to 4-4 on the year and 4-1 at the new Chaifetz Arena.

Samford dips to 3-4 with the loss.

Liddell's scoring came on eight-of-14 shooting from the floor, including a four-of-five mark from 3-point range. Senior Kevin Lisch and freshman Willie Reed joined Liddell in double figures with 12 and 10 points, respectively.

The Billikens, who led wire-to-wire, stretched out to a 10-3 lead in the opening minutes of the contest thanks to a pair of treys from Liddell, including one that came as the shot-clock was expiring.

SLU continued its hot 3-pointing shooting as Liddell buried another three-ball at the 13:26 mark and Lisch banked in a 3-pointer with one second remaining on the shot clock to vault the Billikens to a 16-5 advantage at 11:58 of the first half.

Reed sandwiched a pair of free throws in between a Paul Eckerle 3-pointer and another 3-pointer from Liddell to put SLU on top 24-10 with seven minutes left in the frame.

Samford cut the deficit to 10 at 24-14 on a Josh Davis 3-pointer and free throws from Josh Bedwell and Bryan Friday. However, SLU answered with a Brett Thompson lay-in and a Lisch mid-range jumper to take a 28-16 lead into the final media timeout in the frame.

A traditional three-point play by Samford's Trey Montgomery helped the Bulldogs pull to within 32-23 at the half. The Billikens shot 44-percent from the field. Liddell hit his first four 3-point attempts and led all scorers at halftime with 14 points. Samford turned on the shooting late in the stanza and ended up scoring at a 31-percent clip in the opening session.

SLU opened the second half on a 15-2 run, punctuated by a pair of jumpers by Thompson and a Kwamain Mitchell 3-pointer. Brian Conklin collected a Kyle Cassity pass and layed one in to put SLU on top 50-31 with 12:20 remaining in the game. A pair of free throws and a 3-point bucket by Lisch gave the Billikens a 22-point lead at 10:13, their largest of the night.

Samford tried to hang close and pulled to within 14 with 7-plus minutes remaining thanks to free throws Friday, but SLU re-built its 20 point lead and eased to the win down the stretch.

Overall, SLU shot 55-percent from the field and 39-percent from beyond the 3-point arc. It marked the first time this season SLU shot over 50-percent.

The SLU defense held Samford to just 37-percent shooting from the floor, including a 1-of-14 mark from 3-point range.

The Billikens are in action in a pair of contests next week at Chaifetz Arena as part of the Las Vegas Classic. SLU hosts USC Upstate Wednesday, Dec. 17, before welcoming Liberty Friday, Dec. 18. Both games tip at 7:05 p.m.

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