Billikens Deliver Late, Top Ottawa 80-61
Courtesy: Saint Louis Athletics

OTTAWA, Ont. - Saint Louis junior guard Kwamain Mitchell scored 14 points, including 10 in the fourth quarter, to lift the Billikens to an 80-61 men's basketball exhibition victory against the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees Thursday night at Montpetit Hall.


The victory moves the Billikens to 3-0 on their five-game Canadian exhibition tour. SLU faces Carleton University Friday and Saturday in Ottawa to close out the trip.


Mike McCall matched Mitchell's 14 points for team high honors, while Jordair Jett and Brian Conklin pumped in 13 points apiece. Conklin led the Billikens with six rebounds.


Playing a 48-minute game for the first time on the trip, the Billikens led 41-30 at the midway point but saw the lead dwindle in the third quarter. Ottawa tied the game 49-49 late in the frame, but SLU never relinquished the lead and led 51-49 after three quarters of play.


The Billikens turned it on in the fourth quarter, outscoring the opposition 29-12. They received a boost with 3-pointers by Mitchell and Dwayne Evans. Mitchell buried a trey with 9:29 remaining to stretch the SLU lead to six at 57-51, and the Billikens never looked back.


"Kwamain Mitchell and Mike McCall really played a great fourth quarter," SLU assistant coach Jim Whitesell said. "Cory Remekun played a tremendous first half as well, which was good to see. Throughout this trip it seems like a variety guys can step up and give us a lift, and we definitely saw that tonight.

"This has been a great trip because all our opponents have been playing us differently," Whitesell said. "Our players have had to make adjustments on the fly, and many of them have had to play out of their comfort zone defensively. Some of our bigs have been chasing their guards, and some of our guards have been posting up against their bigs."


The first quarter saw back-and-forth action, with neither team being able to put large runs together. Ottawa led briefly early in the contest before a McCall trey put the Billikens up by one. Evans, who only hit one 3-pointer all of last year, nailed his first of treys in the first quarter to give SLU a 16-12 lead. Jumpers by Conklin and McCall helped SLU sustain the advantage, and a 3-pointer by Rob Loe at the horn gave SLU a 23-19 lead through the first quarter.


Ottawa tied it up in the second quarter before the Billikens manufactured an 8-0 run midway through the frame to take control. Ellis' bucket late in the quarter sent the team's into the locker room with the Billikens leading 41-30.


The Gee-Gees, behind the hot shooting of guard Johnny Berhane-Meska's 23 points, clawed their way back into the contest with a 9-0 run and trailed just 45-43 with 5:54 to go in the third quarter. Jett put an end to the run with a bucket to give SLU a four-point cushion, but Ottawa kept plugging away and eventually tied the score at 49 late in the third quarter before Cory Remekun's bucket gave SLU a 51-49 lead heading into the final frame.


The fourth stanza was all Billikens. Mitchell jump-started the rally with a bucket to put SLU up by four, and a key trey at 9:29 gave the Bills a 57-51 lead. After another Evans 3-ball, Mitchell connected from long range again with 7:19 to go to put SLU on top by 11.


Mitchell netted another basket at 5:56 to spark a 9-0 run, and from then on SLU never relinquished the double-digit lead and cruised to the 19-point win.


Carleton University, the Billikens' opponent Friday and Saturday, is the reigning Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) champions. Both games are scheduled for 6 p.m. (CT) tips.