Billikens Lose Season Finale

ST. LOUIS — Despite a career-high 26 points from freshman guard Kwamain Mitchell, Saint Louis fell 68-62 against La Salle at Chaifetz Arena Saturday in the regular-season finale for both teams.

The two teams will meet again on the hardwood Wednesday, as the Bills (17-13 Atlantic 10) claimed the ninth seed in the Atlantic 10 Tournament and will face No. 8 La Salle (18-12, 9-7 A-10) in the tourney opener. Game time at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J., is set for 11 a.m. (CT).

Saturday marked the final regular-season home game for seniors Barry Eberhardt, Tommie Liddell III and Kevin Lisch. The trio was honored in an emotional post-game ceremony that included a highlight video, remarks from head coach Rick Majerus and a speech to the near-capacity crowd of 9,746 at Chaifetz Arena.

The Billikens opened up to a 14-point lead at one point in the first half and led by six at halftime, but La Salle chipped away at its deficit and took the lead for the first time of the game, 43-42, at the 11-minute mark on a Kimmani Barrett 3-ball.

A Lisch layup would tie the game at 45-45, but the Explorers used jumper by Ruben Guillandeaux and a 3-ball from Darryle Partin to take a 50-45 lead, and SLU would never regain the lead.

The Billikens had possession several times in the final minute down three, but were unable to capitalize. Their best chance came when Lisch had an open look at a potential game-tying 3-pointer with 20 seconds left, but his shot from the right elbow didn't go, and La Salle held on for the win.

Eberhardt scored the Billikens' first four points of the game before Mitchell went to work, nailing two 3-pointers in the first five minutes to help SLU to a 12-4 advantage. His jumper at the 11:50 mark of the first half made it 19-8 Bills.

SLU held on to the double-digit lead for a better part of the first half until Partin buried a pair of 3s. After an Eberhardt bucket put SLU up 34-26 with a minute left in the half, Guillandeaux converted a pair of free throws to make it 34-28 at halftime.

La Salle scored the first two buckets of the second half to trim its deficit to four, but SLU continued to lead thanks to Mitchell, who scored the Bills' first eight points in the second half.

Mitchell's 26 points came on 9-of-14 shooting from the field and 4-of-6 from beyond the arc. Willie Reed added 13 points while Lisch had 10. Rodney Green led the Explorers with 24 points, including 10-of-11 from the charity stripe.

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