Billikens Lose Atlantic 10 Opener

Cincinnati — Derrick Brown scored 20 points for No. 16 Xavier as the Musketeers ended Saint Louis' three-game winning streak with a 70-44 decision on Thursday at the Cintas Center in Cincinnati. The contest was the Atlantic 10 Conference opener for both teams.

The Musketeers scored the first seven points of the game, but Barry Eberhardt scored inside to get SLU on the board. Kwamain Mitchell tallied on a drive to the basket as the Billikens cut the gap to 7-4.

XU scored five straight and led 12-4 before Tommie Liddell III scored inside, and Kevin Lisch drained a long trey. After a Lisch hoop, Brian Conklin shook free under the basket and cut the lead to 19-13 nine minutes into the game.

After the teams traded baskets, Xavier scored five straight to take a double-digit lead 26-15 on a 3-pointer. Conklin powered up for a basket on an inbounds play as the Billikens sliced the lead back to single digits. Lisch's jumper brought the score to 28-19, but XU closed the half on an 11-3 run to take a 39-22 lead into intermission.

XU shot 53.5 percent in the first half, while the Billikens managed only 37 percent and struggled from the free-throw line, missing six attempts.

Willie Reed threw down a dunk to open the second half, and Lisch hit a hoop on SLU's next possession. However, XU's Derrick Brown scored seven of his team's next 11 points as the Musketeers surged ahead by 20.

The Billikens were unable to mount a comeback to cut the lead under 20 as Xavier eased to the win.

Kevin Lisch scored nine points for the Billikens, and Brian Conklin added eight. Barry Eberhardt topped SLU with seven rebounds.

The Billikens fall to 9-6 overall, 0-1 in the A-10. The Musketeers are now 12-2, 1-0 in the league.

The Billikens return home on Wednesday, Jan. 14, to host Massachusetts.

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