Lisch Leads Billikens Past Liberty

ST. LOUIS - Saint Louis guard Kevin Lisch broke into the program's top 10 in career scoring, and Saint Louis remained unbeaten in the Findlay Toyota Las Vegas Classic with a 73-70 victory over Liberty Friday night at Chaifetz Arena. Lisch scored a team-high 20 points.

Lisch surpassed two Billikens on the career scoring chart and is currently in ninth place with 1,378 career points.

He came into the night tied with Marque Perry (1,358), and he also surpassed Joe Wiley (1,368).

Next on the chart is Billiken legend Ed Macauley, who is eighth in SLU history with 1,402 career points. Anthony Bonner is the Billikens' all-time leader in scoring with 1,972 points.

Barry Eberhardt posted his first career double-double with 10 points and a career-best 13 boards for the Billikens, who have won four straight and move to 6-4 on the season. Tommie Liddell III registered his second straight double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds.

Barry Eberhardt (SLU Photo)

It marked the first time since March 3, 2007, that the Billikens had two players post double-doubles.

The Las Vegas Classic continues next week in Las Vegas. SLU faces DePaul Monday at 7 p.m., and will battle either Creighton or Fresno State at 6:30 p.m. (CT) or 9 p.m. (CT) on Tuesday.

Despite holding a 17-point advantage with 3:57 left, the Billikens had to work for the victory in the end. After the Bills constructed a 14-4 run midway through the second half, Liberty (7-4) answered with a 16-0 rally to make it interesting late. Anthony Smith notched a pair of jumpers, and Johnny Stephene and Smith connected on four straight free throws to pull within seven with 1:19 left in the game.

A 3-pointer by Brolin Floyd made it 67-62, and Seth Curry trimmed the Billiken lead to just four with a running jumper at the 59-second mark. Kwamain Mitchell buried a pair of free throws with 50 seconds left to make it 70-64. Curry then laid one in to pull within four, and the Flames stole the subsequent in-bounds pass to pull within two, 70-68, with 37 seconds remaining.

Mitchell and Lisch made three free throws to put the Bills up five, but Smith pulled the Flames to back within three with two seconds left. SLU, however, lost the in-bound pass to give Liberty the chance to tie with the second ticking away.

Smith took a pass at the top-left corner, but Liddell ran onto him and blocked the 3-point attempt at the buzzer to allow the Bills to escape with the 73-70 victory.

Liberty opened up scoring the first five points of the game, but the Billikens quickly answered with an 8-0 run. Brian Conklin began the rally with a dunk, and Liddell notched two straight jumpers to give SLU the early lead. Eberhardt collected an offensive rebound and it back to give SLU an 8-5 lead with 14:40 remaining.

A Lisch 3-pointer, which moved him past Perry on the all-time scoring chart, put the Billikens on top 11-10. Liberty, which came into the contest averaging 77.0 points per game, took a 14-11 lead at the 10:40 mark before SLU orchestrated a 10-0 spurt to retake the lead at 21-14 with 6:44 remaining in the first half.

Liddell buried a baseline runner at 2:40 of the first half to force a Liberty timeout and put SLU on top 29-18. Eberhardt scored a jumper to keep the Billikens in a double-digit lead. Reed then battled four defenders to collect an offensive rebound and dunked on the subsequent possession. A Lisch 3-pointer with 13 seconds remaining in the half, which moved him past Wiley on the all-time scoring list, helped SLU to a 10-point lead at 36-26 at the break.

Liddell registered six of the Billikens' first eight points in the second half, but Liberty came out firing and pulled to within six with 11:36 remaining. Flames leading scorer Seth Curry, who was held scoreless in the first half of play, had four points in the rally to keep Liberty in the contest.

Lisch connected on a 3-pointer and Kyle Cassity nailed a jumper to keep the Bills on top 51-43 with 10:30 left in the game. A Paul Eckerle 3-pointer rewarded the Billikens after Liddell and Eberhardt collected offensive rebounds in the possession, moving SLU to a 54-43 advantage two minutes later, ultimately setting up the thrilling ending.

The Billikens shot 46 percent from the field, while the Flames shot 44 percent. Curry, Liberty's leading scorer coming into the contest with 20.9 ppg, was held to a career-low eight points thanks in part to the defensive effort of Lisch.

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