Billikens Win In Double Overtime

Kyle Cassity and Kwamain Mitchell combined to score 18 points in two overtime periods to help boost the Saint Louis Billikens to a thrilling 79-75 victory at Duquesne Wednesday night in Pittsburgh.

The win, SLU's fourth straight in overtime, boosted the Billikens to a 2-0 mark in Atlantic 10 Conference play for the first time since joining the league five seasons ago.

SLU is 11-5 overall, while the Dukes dip to 9-8 overall, 0-3 in the A-10.

To open the second overtime, Willie Reed scored on a dunk to boost the Billikens to a quick lead. After a Dukes turnover, Cassity drained a trey from the left side. A Cody Ellis jumper from the wing pushed SLU to a 67-60 lead to open the second OT. Duquesne scored four straight to rally, but Ellis had a tip follow to stem the Dukes' momentum. Kwamain Mitchell scored on a drive, and two Ellis free throws handed the Billikens a 73-64 lead with over one minute left to play. Aided by a four-point play, the Dukes closed the gap to four. Christian Salecich hit one free throw, but the Dukes inched closer on a layup by Damian Saunders to get to 76-73 with 22 seconds left. Mitchell sank two free throws with 19 ticks left, but Saunders answered with another inside hoop to draw Duquesne to 78-75. Mitchell sank one free throw to seal the victory.

The Billikens had the opportunity to win the game in the first overtime, but Bill Clark sank a long 3-pointer from well beyond the arc to force the second overtime session. The Billikens won the tip to start the first overtime, and Cassity scored on a drive to give SLU the lead. Later, Duquesne scored five straight to take a three-point lead, but back-to-back baskets by Cassity and Mitchell out SLU up by one. After a block by Jon Smith, Mitchell hit two free throws with 22 seconds left for a three-point margin, but Clark's trey extended the game to a second overtime session.

Duquesne scored the first four points of the second half to build their largest lead at 31-23 just over a minute into the second half. The Billikens reeled off 11 unanswered points to turn a 36-28 deficit into a 39-36 lead at the 12:18 mark of the second half. The game was tied at 41-41 until a dunk by Reed pushed the Billikens up by a pair. The SLU margin was 44-42 until a quick 6-1 run gave the Bills a seemingly comfortable 50-43 lead with a little over four minutes left to go in regulation. Four straight points brought the Dukes to 50-47. Reed banked in a shot from the left block, but Duquesne answered with two free throws. In the final minute of regulation, Duquesne caused a turnover, and a jumper by Sean Johnson forced overtime.

The Billikens hit their first three shots, including a dunk by Cory Remekun on the first possession of the game, and ran out to a 6-2 lead. After Remekun, Brian Conklin and Cassity sank consecutive shots. The Dukes came back with five straight points to take their first lead 10-9. At 13-13, Femi John scored on a drive and Kwamain Mitchell followed with a hoop for a 17-13 Billiken lead at the 9:38 mark. Duquense scored six straight to retake the lead before a long trey by Ellis boosted SLU to a 20-19 advantage. However, the Dukes tallied seven consecutive points. A Justin Jordan 3-pointer drew SLU to 26-23, and one free throw by Duquesne made it 27-23 at intermission.

Mitchell scored 19 points to lead the Billikens, and Cassity finished with 15 points and four assists. Cassity hit six of seven shots from the field. In just his second game for the Billikens, Ellis registered a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds.

Damian Saunders was a force for the Dukes with 23 points and 17 rebounds.

The Billikens are next in action Sunday, Jan. 17, when they travel to Charlotte for a 3 p.m. (CT) game. The contest will be nationally televised on CBS College Sports.

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