Courtesy: Saint Louis University Athletics
ST. LOUIS Junior forward Cody Ellis led Saint Louis with 13 points and six rebounds in a convincing 71-37 Billiken victory against Tennessee State Friday night in the season opener for both teams. The Billikens, who led wire-to-wire, shot 52 percent from the field and 50 percent from beyond the arc in the 34-point victory.
Ellis 13 points came on 4-of-5 shooting from the field and 2-of-3 from 3-point range. He was also a perfect 3-of-3 of the free-throw line. Brian Conklin also scored in double figures, notching 11 points on 4-of-7 shooting. Kwamain Mitchell scored nine points and added a career-high eight assists.
Rob Loe opened the game with a 3-pointer and Conklin added a layin to give the Billikens a 5-0 lead early. TSU hit a free throw, and the Billikens then put together a 9-0 spurt, highlighted by a Mitchell traditional 3-point play, to lead 14-1 with 12:54 to go.
The Billiken defense, which forced 22 Tennessee State turnovers, held the Tigers without a field goal until the 12:41 mark when Patrick Miller buried a trey to slim the Tigers deficit to 10 at 14-4. That is as close as TSU would get to the lead the rest of the game. The Billikens carried a 17-point lead into halftime when Kyle Cassity hit a trey with under a minute remaining in the half to make it a 29-12 at the break.
SLU scored the first five points of the second half as Conklin converted a 3-point play to make it 34-12. Ellis nailed consecutive 3-pointers to stretch the Billiken advantage to 44-17 with 13:58 remaining. A Mitchell 3-pointer with 8:16 remaining put the Billiken ahead by 32 at 8:16, and head coach Rick Majerus cleared his bench with more than five minutes to go en route to the 71-37 victory.
Robert Covington led the Tigers with nine points, while Jordan Cyphers chipped in eight.
The Billikens travel to Carbondale, Ill., to face Southern Illinois Tuesday, Nov. 15. Game time is slated for 7:05 p.m.