Billikens Beat Bulldogs in Las Vegas Classic

LAS VEGAS — Kevin Lisch twice hit both ends of a one-and-one in the waning seconds as Saint Louis closed out the Las Vegas Classic on Tuesday evening at the Orleans Arena with a 56-52 victory over Fresno State.

With 11.6 seconds left, he hit two free throws to build a four-point lead. After the Bulldogs cut the deficit to two, Lisch again came through with 3.4 seconds left by hitting two free throws to seal the victory.

The Billikens hit their first two shots of the game to take the early lead. Brian Conklin drained an elbow jumper, and Kevin Lisch followed with a jumper from the right. Barry Eberhardt swished a jumper from the left side to push the Billikens on top 6-2 three minutes into the game.

The Billikens reeled off a 7-0 run as they held the Bulldogs scoreless for almost four minutes to surge to a 15-8 margin at the 12:48 mark.

However, SLU did not score for over four minutes as Fresno State closed the gap to one point. Liddell's second 3-pointer of the night handed the Billikens an 18-14 lead, but the Bulldogs tied the game at 18 with just over six minutes to go before halftime. Kwamain Mitchell's hoop rebuilt the SLU lead.

Lisch's 3-pointer from the right corner put the SLU lead at 23-19, and Willie Reed's dunk in transition handed the Billikens a 25-19 lead. SLU took a 25-22 advantage into the break. The Billikens committed only two turnovers in the first half.

Reed had two dunks to punctuate a quick 6-2 burst by the Billikens early in the second half for a 33-26 lead. Liddell scored seven straight points for the Billikens as the surged to a 40-32 lead with 12 minutes left in the game.

The Billikens did not score for almost five minutes, but their defense kept them in the lead. Mitchell drove the left baseline and his layup built the SLU margin to 42-35 with 7:57 remaining in the contest. The Bulldogs cut the gap to four, but a layup by Eberhardt off a Liddell feed and a Lisch trey eventually handed SLU a 49-42 lead.

However, FSU answered with two consecutive layups to draw to 49-46. Two free throws by Fresno State inched the Bulldogs to one, but Lisch swished a deep 3-pointer with 2:09 left for a 52-48 lead. Fresno State tallied on a layup to close to 52-50 with 1:42 remaining.

The Billikens missed on their next possession, but forced a turnover as Mitchell tracked down the deflection. Both defenses were strong but Lisch hit both ends of a one-and-one with 11.6 seconds left to put the Billikens on top 54-50.

Fresno State's Dwight O'Neil sank two free throws with 5.4 ticks remaining to bring the Bulldogs to 54-52. SLU inbounded to Lisch who sealed the victory with two more pressure one-and-one free throws with 3.4 seconds left.

Liddell scored a game-high 19 points and added six rebounds. Lisch, who was named to the Las Vegas Classic All-Tournament team, added 15 points. Conklin pitched in seven rebounds, while Eberhardt finished with six points and six rebounds.

Sylvester Seay led Fresno State with 18 points and eight rebounds. Liddell limited FSU's leading scorer, Paul George to just six points on five field goal attempts.

The Billikens improve to 7-5 on the season, while the Bulldogs are now 6-7. The Billikens return to action on Tuesday, Dec. 30, when they host UMBC as part of a doubleheader at Chaifetz Arena.

The women's team hosts nationally-ranked Oklahoma at 5:30 p.m. followed by the men's game at 8 p.m.

Box Score | Play-by-Play


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