Billikens Rally For Road Victory

The Saint Louis Billikens rallied from a 12-point deficit and posted their second consecutive victory in Philadelphia, 56-52 at Saint Joseph's on Tuesday. The win pushes SLU to 15-8 overall, 6-3 in the Atlantic 10 Conference. The mark in league play is the best since the 1999-2000 team started Conference USA play with a 6-3 slate.

The Hawks scored the first five points of the game, and the Billikens were forced to play catch up the rest of the half. Christian Salecich and Kwamain Mitchell tallied consecutive baskets to get the Billikens on the scoreboard.

The Hawks still led 23-18 but scored seven straight points to take a 30-18 lead with under four minutes left to play. The Bills answered with back-to-back 3-pointers to cut into the lead. Justin Jordan swished in a long trey from the right, and Mitchell drained a trey to draw SLU to 30-24. After a timeout by the Hawks, Kyle Cassity scored on a drive to cut the deficit to just four, as SJU settled for a six-point lead at intermission.

Saint Joseph's scored the first three points of the second half, but the Billikens roared back with nine consecutive points to forge a tie. Cody Ellis hit a long jumper, and Willie Reed scored off a Mitchell feed. Ellis drained a trey from the corner, and two free throws by Brian Conklin tied the game at 35-35 five minutes into the second half.

Garrett Williamson scored for the Hawks, but Kyle Cassity's 3-pointer gave the Billikens their first lead of the night, 38-37. Two SJU free throws handed the Hawks another lead. Mitchell swiped a steal and his layup gave the Billikens a lead they would not surrender the rest of the way. Jordan drilled another 3-pointer to give SLU a 43-39 margin at the 10:42 mark.

SJU cut the gap to 46-43, but the Billikens answered with a triple by Ellis and a layup by Mitchell to retake control 51-43 with six minutes left to play. The Hawks eventually closed to 53-50, but Salecich sank two free throws with 33.4 seconds left and Reed tacked on another charity toss to ice the game.

Ellis led the Billikens with 13 points, and Salecich added 11. Reed finished with seven points and nine rebounds, while Cassity contributed seven points, three rebounds and four assists.

Garrett Williamson led SJU with 13 points, while Todd O'Brien recorded a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds. The Billiken defense forced the Hawks (9-15, 3-7 A-10) into shooting just 37.3 percent from the field, including 29.6 percent in the second half.


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