Richmond Hands Billikens Home Loss

ST. LOUIS — The first sign of trouble for the Saint Louis University basketball team on Sunday afternoon came 60 minutes before the Billikens' Atlantic 10 Conference game against Richmond.

That's when point guard Kwamain Mitchell, who suffered a concussion in Thursday's game at Temple, was watching his teammates shoot around and it became apparent the freshman would not be able to play.

With Mitchell out of action, Saint Louis lost 70-62 to visiting Richmond on Sunday in front of a crowd of 8,946 at Chaifetz Arena.

"There's no sense in us feeling sorry for ourselves," coach Rick Majerus said. "No one is going to feel sorry for us."

The Billikens had won nine consecutive games in its new building before Sunday and is now 10-2 in home games this season, with losses to Kent State and Richmond.

Saint Louis (11-8, 2-3) was led by 18 points from senior guard Kevin Lisch, who went scoreless in the previous game against Temple. Senior guard Tommie Liddell III added 13 points and a game-high nine rebounds. Freshman forwards Brian Conklin and Willie Reed each added nine points, while Reed also had eight rebounds.

Sophomore forward Justin Harper led Richmond (11-8, 3-1) with 19 points, eight rebounds and two blocked shots. The Spiders also got 15 points from David Gonzalvez, 14 Francis-Cedric Martel and 10 from Kevin Anderson.

Richmond shot 60.9 percent in the first half (14 of 23) and knocked down six of its 10 3-point attempts. SLU made just 40.9 percent of its attempts in the first 20 minutes (nine of 22).

Saint Louis jumped out to an 8-2 lead, but struggled to hold down the hot-shooting Spiders in the first half and trailed 34-23 at halftime.

Richmond continued its hot shooting early in the second half and was able to build its lead to as many as 12 points with 13 minutes, 36 seconds remaining when Martel converted a three-point play.

From that point, the Billikens were able to slowly chip away at the lead, taking advantage of opportunities at the free throw line and then getting a few stops on defense.

"We played more purposefully the second half," Majerus said.

Saint Louis was able to cut the deficit to five, 56-51, with 4:21 remaining after Liddell made a three-point play. But the Spiders were able to match the Billikens almost basket for basket down the stretch.

A 3-pointer by Lisch with 30.3 seconds remaining got SLU to within four, 66-62, but Richmond was able to convert four straight free throws from that point and the Billikens would not get another shot attempt to go down.

NOTES: Mitchell and Conklin were the only two players to start each of SLU's first 18 games. Mitchell ranks third on the team in scoring, 3-pointers and minutes played. Majerus said the situation with Mitchell out was like "playing without a jockey." … Sophomore guard Paul Eckerle started in place of Mitchell, which was his second career start and his first this season. Eckerle made a 3-pointer early in the first half, but did not score again.

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