Saint Louis Swats Eastern Illinois

ST. LOUIS – Saint Louis scored 13 unanswered points to open the game and never looked back as it rolled to a 60-42 non-conference win over Eastern Illinois at Chaifetz Arena Tuesday evening. The Billikens improve to 9-4, while the Panthers drop to 7-5.

The Bills began the game with 13 straight points before the Panthers cracked the scoring column. Brian Conklin opened the scoring with a bucket down low before Willie Reed hit a free throw with 15:29 left in the first half.

Then Jonathan Smith laid one in and Kyle Cassity nailed a 3-pointer from the right wing to make it 8-0 with 14:10 to go. Reed added the next three points on a charity toss and a put back of an offensive rebound before Christian Salecich finished the surge with a jumper inside the 3-point line at 11:21.

Eastern Illinois' Edin Suljic snapped the dry spell by nailing a driving layup with 10:50 left in the half. After Conklin put the Bills up 15-2 at 10:23, the Panthers held Saint Louis scoreless for over five minutes while they put together a 12-0 spurt that trimmed the margin to 15-14 with 5:35 left before the break.

The teams traded baskets as the margin remained at one with 3:28 left in the first period. But SLU mounted a 10-2 run to complete the half and head into the locker room with a 27-18 lead at intermission.

Justin Jordan's two 3-pointers keyed the charge, the second of which came with less than one second remaining in the half. The Billikens made 37 percent of their shots from the field, while limiting EIU to a 25.8 percent clip. Reed and Cory Remekun added three blocks apiece in the first half.

SLU built a double-digit lead early in the second half and was able to maintain it through the rest of the game. Kwamain Mitchell scored 17 of his game-high 19 points in the second half as the Bills were able to race out to a lead as large as 20 points in the waning minutes.

Saint Louis made 43.3 percent of its shots in the second half to finish at a 40.4 clip for the game. EIU knocked down just 34.6 percent of its shots from the field in the second half to finish with a 29.8 percentage.

Mitchell led all scorers with 19 points, while tying his career highs with five 3-pointers and seven assists. Reed chipped in 13 points, five rebounds and three blocks. Conklin turned in a team-best six rebounds, while Remekun and Jon Smith contributed four and three blocks, respectively.

Tyler Laser and Shaun Pratl finished with 11 points apiece to pace Eastern Illinois. Laser also added a game-high seven boards, while Pratl hauled in six.

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