Billikens Pull Out Win At La Salle

Kwamain Mitchell hit four free throws in the final minute to push Saint Louis past La Salle 68-65 in Atlantic 10 Conference action on a snowy afternoon in Philadelphia. Mitchell and Willie Reed scored 25 and 21 points, respectively, to lead the Billikens to their second straight victory.

Trailing 65-64, Mitchell sank two charity tosses with 54.9 seconds left to put the Billikens up by one. La Salle looked to retake the lead but Willie Reed emerged with a steal in traffic under the boards. Mitchell was fouled with 16.8 seconds to go and hit two more free throws for a three-point lead.

La Salle's 3-point attempt at the buzzer missed the mark as the Billikens won their second A-10 road contest of the year.

The Billikens trailed by as many as 11 points midway through the first half, but they slowly chipped away at the deficit. A 3-pointer by Cody Ellis and a layup by Reed pulled SLU to within five points. The Bills closed to 27-23 with three minutes left in the first half until a trey by Christian Salecich and one free throw by Ellis tied the game.

Ellis' jumper gave the Billikens their first lead of the day at 29-27 with just under two minutes left in the first half. Ellis swished a wing jumper to hand SLU a 34-32 lead at halftime.

La Salle tied the game early in the second half and used a 10-2 run to build a 47-39 advantage at the 14:55 mark of the second half. Still down seven, the Billikens went on a 13-3 burst to take a 55-52 lead on two free throws by Brian Conklin midway through the half. The Explorers scored to close to 55-54 but the Bilikens tallied eight straight points. Reed scored the first four points of the run. After a driving layup by Mitchell, Reed scored inside to give SLU a 63-54 lead.

The SLU defense forced La Salle into seven straight misses until Jerrell Williams converted a three-point play. The Billikens went more than three minutes without a score as La Salle went ahead 65-63. Reed's free throw with 1:56 remaining ended the drought to close to 65-64 before Mitchell's decisive free throws.

Mitchell scored 25 points on 9-of-18 shooting to go along with four assists and no turnovers. Reed hit 6-of-9 shots from the field and made nine free throws to finish with 21 points and eight rebounds. It is the first time since February 8, 2009, that two SLU players scored at least 20 points in the same game.

Ellis finished with 14 points.

The 11-point comeback is the largest of the season, surpassing the nine-point deficit at Duquesne on January 13. Jerrell Williams scored 21 points to lead four La Salle (11-12, 3-6 A-10) players in double figures.

The Billikens (14-8, 5-3 A-10) stay in Philadelphia and are next in action Tuesday, Feb. 9, when they head to Saint Joseph's for a 6 p.m. (CT) game. The contest will be televised on CBS College Sports Regional and airs on CCIN in St. Louis.

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