Billikens Can't Complete Comeback

The Saint Louis University basketball team struggled in the first half of Wednesday's game at Georgia, including opening the game without a field goal for the first 9 minutes, 23 seconds, and a furious rally late in the second half just wasn't enough.

Georgia led by as many as 20 points early in the second half and held on for a 64-56 victory after the Billikens cut the deficit to five late in the second half.

It was the third consecutive loss for SLU — following losses against Iowa State and Notre Dame at the Chicago Invitational Challenge last weekend — and the third straight game where the Billikens struggled offensively in one half.

"We have a lot of issues with inexperience and scoring," Saint Louis coach Rick Majerus told reporters. "When you're the youngest team in the country and you don't know how, or when, or who's going to score, you don't play well."

SLU made just 34.7 percent of its shots (17 of 49) and had 17 turnovers, including 12 in the first half. After awful shooting performances from 3-point range against Iowa State and Notre Dame, the Billikens made seven of 19 3-pointers on Wednesday (36.8 percent). They were also 15 of 19 from the free throw line.

"They have a great offensive system where there's a lot of screening and rolling, and it's hard to guard," Georgia center Albert Jackson told reporters. "So we tried to come out and trap them, really protect the paint because that was the only way we were going to win the game."

Sophomore point guard Kwamain Mitchell led SLU (4-3) with 16 points, including three 3-pointers, and four steals in his 27 minutes that were limited by four trouble.

Sophomore forward Willie Reed continued his strong play with 14 points, including making all six of his free throw attempts, to go along with eight rebounds, four steals and three blocked shots in 32 minutes. Reed left the game late in the second half after hurting his ankle.

Redshirt freshman guard Femi John, who was making his first career start in place of sophomore guard Kyle Cassity, scored nine points, all of which came in the first half and helped keep the Billikens in the game.

Georgia (4-2) had five players score in double figures. Dustin Ware led the Bulldogs with 17 points, including three 3-pointers. Jeremy Price scored 14 points off the bench. Trey Thompkins had 12 points, while Travis Leslie added 11 points and nine rebounds and Ricky McPhee added 10 points.

"The key for us in the first half was our defense," Georgia coach Mark Fox told reporters. "Our defense allowed us to get some baskets in transition and relax and build up some confidence."

Saint Louis trailed 55-50 with 3:11 left in the game, but the Bulldogs answered with six consecutive points to pull away.

The Billikens return to Chaifetz Arena for six straight home games, starting with Saturday night's non-conference contest against Southern Illinois.

NOTES: Reed, who left the game late in the second half with an ankle injury, was expected to be evaluated on Thursday morning in St. Louis. He is leading the team in scoring (13.7 points per game), rebounding (10.4) and blocked shots (2 per game) and is second on the team with 11 steals. … Freshman guard Jeff Reid did not make the trip to Georgia. He has played in five games, for a total of 23 minutes, and scored two points. … Freshman forward Jonathan Smith did not play in Wednesday's game as the Billikens used just eight players.

Press Release | Box Score


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