Saint Louis Beats Indiana State In CBI

ST. LOUIS — The disappointment of not being invited to the National Invitation Tournament turned into motivation for the Saint Louis University basketball team in the first round of the College Basketball Invitational.

Saint Louis came out firing early, jumping out to a 10-point lead in the opening minutes and then leading by as many as 18 points in the first half. The Billikens led by as many as 19 in the second half but had to hold off a late comeback attempt by Indiana State to pull out a 63-54 victory at Chaifetz Arena.

"I was just ready to play another game because the sting from the Rhode Island game really hurt, the way we ended the season," sophomore guard Kwamain Mitchell said. "When we came back everybody was watching TV to see if we made the NIT. We didn't make it there, but our coach told us we had a chance to play in the CBI. It was fun to go back out there and play in the Chaifetz Arena."

Saint Louis (21-11) now advances to the quarterfinal round of the CBI where the Billikens will host either Akron or Green Bay — which play their opening round game on Wednesday — at Chaifetz Arena on Monday night.

Mitchell scored a game-high 19 pints on seven-of-14 shooting, which included the first dunk of his college career, in 32 minutes. Sophomore forward Willie Reed added 17 points, eight rebounds and four blocked shots.

"We did better tonight," SLU coach Rick Majerus said. "We did some things well. To shoot so poorly and to have such great looks and to still win. We made some nice hustle plays and some nice defensive plays. They are a good club. I feel badly that their one player was out."

Indiana State (17-15), playing without injured leading scorer Harry Marshall, did not have any players score in double figures but have five different players finish with eight points. Sophomore guard Dwayne Lathan led the way with eight points, seven rebounds and six assists.

Saint Louis opened the game with an 11-1 run and led 17-4 after five minutes.

"We came out with great energy and enthusiasm tonight," Majerus said.

The Billikens led by 18 points, 32-14, after a bucket by Willie Reed inside with 4:47 remaining in the first half. Indiana State was able to answer and cut the deficit to 37-24 at halftime.

Reed scored 13 points on five-of-seven shooting in just 14 minutes in the first half, including sinking three of his four free throws. Mitchell and freshman forward Cody Ellis each added six points in the first half.

Saint Louis was able to build its biggest lead of the night, 57-38, with 7 minutes and 13 seconds remaining after back-to-back buckets from Reed.

But the Sycamores rallied from that point, ripping off an 11-0 run over the next four minutes to get back in the game.

Saint Louis responded by knocking down six of its next eight free throws to put the game away as Indiana State made just one field goal attempt in the final four minutes.

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