Billikens Beat Maryland-Baltimore County

ST. LOUIS — Saint Louis freshman forward Willie Reed recorded a career-high 18 points as the Billikens ousted Maryland-Baltimore County 81-60 in non-conference basketball action Tuesday night at Chaifetz Arena.

Saint Louis U., which has won six of its last seven, moves to 8-5 overall and 6-1 at Chaifetz Arena. UMBC, an NCAA tournament team from a season ago and riding high after a win at Nebraska in its last outing, dips to 6-6.

Tommie Liddell III notched a team-high 19 points for SLU, which recorded its season high with 81 points. Reed's career-best 18 points came on 7-of-7 shooting from the floor. He also had three blocks and three rebounds. Liddell was 6-of-10 from the field and is just one point shy of breaking into SLU's all-time top 10 in career scoring.

A pair of 3-point buckets by Liddell and Kwamain Mitchell preceded two mid-range jumpers by Barry Eberhardt to put SLU up 10-5 early in the game. The Billikens went up 20-9 with a seven-point spurt, consisting of a Brian Conklin layin, a Willie Reed bucket and a Liddell traditional 3-point play.

SLU stretched out to a 16 point lead at 31-15 with 7:47 remaining. Reed converted an ally oop off a Brett Thompson pass, and Mitchell layed in a fast-break bucket. Paul Eckerle also entered the scoring mix to help the Billikens keep a comfortable double-digit lead.

The Billikens continued to build its double-digit lead in the first half, stretching it to 18 at 35-17 with 3:39 remaining in the first half. The Bills took a 39-26 advantage into halftime and were led by Liddell's 10 points.

Darryl Proctor, who scored 11 of UMBC's first 15 points, led all scorers at the break with 13 points. SLU was especially strong defensively in the first half, forcing eight turnovers resulting in 11 points for SLU on the other end.

Proctor, who entered tonight's contest leading UMBC with 17.5 ppg, came out firing in the second half and scored six of UMBC's first eight points as the Retrievers slimed their deficit to 10 early on. But another traditional 3-point play by Liddell put the Bills on top 48-35 with 15:50 remaining in the contest.

SLU led by 10-plus points for the entire second half despite the back-and-forth action. Liddell gave the Billikens a 15 point lead with seven minutes left when he corralled a loose ball after a Reed block. Later, Kevin Lisch connected on his first field goal of the game, a 3-pointer, to put SLU up 66-49 with under five minutes to go.

Lisch made six straight free throws with 3:26 remaining to put SLU on top 74-54. He converted all four after UMBC head coach Randy Monroe received a double-technical, then made the two awarded to him on the previous foul. Down the stretch, Reed excited the wild crowd of 7,820 with two straight dunks to put SLU up 78-56.

In all, SLU put four players in double figures with Brian Conklin adding 12 points and Lisch supplying 10 points. As a team, SLU shot 53 percent from the field, compared to 38 percent for UMBC. Proctor led all scorers with 29 points.

The Billikens return to action Friday, Jan. 2, when they host North Carolina A&T at Chaifetz Arena. Game time is set for 7 p.m.

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