Billikens Lose Twice In Chicago

Saint Louis University basketball coach Rick Majerus knew that his Billikens' trip to Chicago for two games as part of the Chicago Invitational Challenge would tell him plenty about his young team.

In both games, against Iowa State and Notre Dame, the Billikens hung tough for a half before falling flat in the final 20 minutes of both games and left the Windy City with two losses.

After four victories at Chaifetz Arena to start the season — against Southeast Missouri, Nebraska, Kennesaw State and Mississippi Valley State — Saint Louis lost both of its games at UIC Pavilion over the weekend.

The Billikens lost to Iowa State 65-54 on Friday and then lost to Notre Dame 64-52 on Saturday.

The hot shooting in the wins over Kennesaw State and Mississippi Valley State, where the Billikens made 22 of 47 3-point attempts, gave way to a brutal four-for-33 performance in the two games in Chicago.

SLU, which entered Friday's game averaging 8.3 3-pointers per contest this season, made just one of 16 3-pointers against Iowa State and then three of 17 against Notre Dame.

The Billikens trailed by just three points at halftime of both games.

Iowa State led 30-27 at the half before pulling away by outscoring SLU 35-27 in the final 20 minutes. Notre Dame held a 27-24 advantage at halftime before outscoring the Billikens 37-28 in the second half.

There were several highlights to the trip and leading the way was 6-foot-9 sophomore forward Willie Reed.

Reed had 14 points and 13 rebounds against Iowa State and followed that up with an impressive 20 points and 15 rebounds, both career highs, against Notre Dame. Reed, who is now averaging a team-best 13.7 points and 10.8 rebounds per game, was named to the event's all-tournament team.

Sophomore forward Brian Conklin scored a team-high and career-high tying 18 points against the Cyclones on eight-of-10 shooting and then had 10 points and five rebounds against Notre Dame. Conklin is averaging 10.8 points per contest.

Sophomore point guard Kwamain Mitchell struggled with his shooting in both games, but finished with 14 points against Notre Dame and is now averaging 11.3 points per game for the season.

Saint Louis fell to 4-2 on the season going into Wednesday's road game at Georgia. The Billikens then return to Chaifetz Arena for a six-game homestand, starting Saturday night against Southern Illinois.

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