SLU-Dayton Hoops Notebook

ST. LOUIS — Going into Saturday night, freshman point guard Kwamain Mitchell was averaging 15.3 points per contest over his last seven games after missing one game because of the concussion he suffered at Temple.

Included in that stretch was a season-high 23 points in the three-overtime victory at Richmond and then back-to-back 17-point games against Rhode Island and Saint Joseph's to raise his season average to 10 points per game.

Mitchell struggled shooting the ball against Dayton. He finished two of nine, including missing all five of his 3-point attempts, but still finished with eight points in 35 minutes.


Kwamain Mitchell puts up a shot (Whitney Curtis/AP Photo)

"Kwamain was just tired," Saint Louis coach Rick Majerus said. "Kwamain showed a lot of guts. … It's a flood for him. The information overload is incredible. He's processed it well."

Mitchell redeemed himself late in the second half. His three-point play with 3:25 remaining put SLU ahead 47-42 and stands as one of the biggest plays in the Billikens' 57-49 victory.

THE HOME COURT ADVANTAGE

The Chaifetz Arena was a factor on Saturday night, with the loud crowd contributing in part to the Billikens' first win over a ranked team since they beat Rhode Island a year ago.

"This is a very good win," Majerus said. "I want to acknowledge the students again. They did a great job. They gave us a big lift. As only we can do, how many times can you get out on the floor? We got a police line up there. I was looking for the dogs from the Alabama days to bite them as they came through. But we should have let them come on the court and enjoy themselves for paying $46,000 (for tuition)."

After playing three years at the Scottrade Center downtown, senior guard Kevin Lisch didn't know what to expect when SLU moved into its new on-campus arena.

"I didn't know what to expect, but this is a lot better than I thought," Lisch said. "After being at Scottrade, we'd have good fans but you couldn't hear them in there. This is great. This is fun to play in."

The Billikens are now 14-2 in their debut season at Chaifetz Arena with one game (La Salle) remaining. Saint Louis was 11-5 at home a season ago.

THE ‘ATTABOY' AWARD

Freshman forward Brian Conklin had another strong performance.

Conklin is one of four SLU players to start 26 games this season, along with Kevin Lisch, Tommie Liddell III and Kwamain Mitchell, and his contributions don't always show up in the boxscores.

"I tell you guys all the time there is no column for the attaboy award, which is a shame," Majerus said. "I know it. Believe me, I have it in my mind every time. But Conklin played terrific. I hope his parents can stay for another week."

Conklin had nine points on Saturday, including eight in the first half, and added five rebounds in 23 minutes. Majerus said he set the tone by taking two big charges in the first half.

For the season, the Oregon native is averaging 6.7 points, 4 rebounds in 23.3 minutes per game. He has made 54 percent of his field goal attempts and has made 70 percent of his free throw attempts.

MAJERUS LIKES CASSITY

Freshman guard Kyle Cassity has become on of Majerus' favorite subjects in post-game press conferences, with the coach talking about the freshman seemingly after every home game.

In 12 minutes on Saturday, Cassity missed his only shot from the field, a 3-pointer, and also missed two free throws. But he contributed with three assists, one rebound and added to the team's solid defensive effort.

"I have to get Cassity to where we play him more and he looks more to score," Majerus said. "But look at Cassity. The guy's got three assists and no turnovers. The guy is going to be a hell of a player, hell of a passer. He's got to eat well, he's got to lift weights."

Cassity has started three games. He is averaging 1.8 points, 1 rebound and 1 assist in 16.9 minutes per game. He ranks third on the team in assists with 30 and his 3-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio is the best on the team.


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