Saint Louis improves to 5-4 with the victory, while USC Upstate remains winless at 0-8.
The two teams traded buckets early on, with SLU receiving dunks from Willie Reed and Liddell. After USC Upstate went on top 7-4, the Billikens regained the lead with a Kwamain Mitchell running lay-in and a deep 3-pointer from Kevin Lisch. The score was briefly tied 9-9 before Saint Louis went on a 10-0 run, highlighted by a pair of mid-ranged jumpers from Barry Eberhardt.
But USC Upstate would not go down quietly and pulled to within two at 19-17 with 3:30 remaining in the first half. Seven-foot-3 center Nick Schneiders scored six points in that span as the two teams went into halftime with the Billikens leading 21-17.
After yielding an early jumper to the Spartans in the second half, the Billikens answered with three unanswered buckets. Reed dunked to begin the seven-point spurt, and Conklin converted a traditional three-point play. Mitchell went coast-to-coast off a steal to put the Billikens on top 28-19 with 16:40 remaining in the contest.
The Billikens built on their lead thanks to a traditional three-point play by Eberhardt. Reed connected on a pair of jumpers to make it 38-26 with 11:40 left.
However, the Spartans received a dunk from Bobby Davis and a jumper from De"Marion Gordon to pull within ten points of the lead at 44-34 with under six minutes to go.
SLU would go on to score nine of the next 13 points. Liddell notched a pair of free throws and dunked following a steal to help seal the 55-38 victory.
The Billikens shot 42 percent from the floor, including a 14-of-29 mark in the second half. Lisch and Reed also scored in double figures with 10 points each. The SLU defense forced 14 turnovers and out-rebounded the Spartans 37-29.