Saint Louis Defeats Dayton

In the regular season finale, the Saint Louis University basketball team handed Dayton just the Flyers' second loss in 44 games at UD Arena 71-66 in Dayton, Ohio on Saturday evening.

The Billikens have earned the No. 4 seed for the Atlantic 10 Championship and open the tournament Friday, March 12, at 1:30 pm (CT) in Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J.

The Billikens claimed the early lead by hitting three 3-pointers to start the game. Kwamain Mitchell started the burst, and Kyle Cassity and Cody Ellis added treys for a 9-4 SLU margin. The Flyers took a 17-16 lead, but SLU answered with deep 3-pointers by Ellis and Mitchell to rebuild a 22-17 lead. Jon Smith, playing in his home state of Ohio, sank a layup and free throw for a 25-17 cushion midway through the first half.

SLU stayed red-hot from beyond the arc and treys by Mitchell and Christian Salecich and one free throw by Cory Remekun put the SLU advantage at 32-17 at the 3:25 mark of the first half. The Billikens' defense continued to put the claims on Dayton and kept the Flyers off the scoreboard for over 10 minutes. Chris Wright finally hit one free throw to break the Billikens' 18-0 run. The Bills ended the first half hitting 8-of-14 from deep, while holding the Flyers to 7-of-24 shooting (29.2 percent) to take a 34-19 lead at intermission.

The Flyers cut into the lead by scoring the first eight points of the second half, but a drive by Cassity and two free throws by Brian Conklin restored a double-digit lead for SLU. The Flyers later answered with a 9-3 run to close to 46-39 at the 13:39 mark of the second half. Ellis scored on a drive for SLU, and Justin Jordan hit two free throws to push the margin to 50-39 with 12 minutes to go. The Flyers again closed the gap to single digits, but a Cassity trey made it 53-43. The Billikens hit five free throws to try and keep the Flyers at bay and still led 58-49 with 3:45 to go. London Warren scored four straight points, and Chris Johnson's trey pulled UD to 58-56.

But Mitchell scored on a drive for a 60-56 lead. Salecich drilled SLU's 12 3-pointer of the game for a 63-56 lead with 90 seconds left to play. Chris Wright had a follow dunk for UD, but Salecich hit two free throws. After forcing a UD miss, Ellis added two more from the line and one by Reed gave SLU a 68-60 lead as they completed a season sweep of the Flyers.

Mitchell led four SLU players in double figures with 20 points. Justin Jordan and Kyle Cassity both tallied 11 points, and Cody Ellis added 10. SLU tied a season-high with 12 3-pointers and shot 50 percent from beyond the arc.

The victory was SLU's fourth straight conference road victory, the first time the Billikens have done that since 1959. The Billikens improve to 20-10 overall and 11-5 in Atlantic 10 Conference play, the most league wins since 1997-98.

The Flyers drop to 19-11 overall and 8-8 in the A-10.

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