Originally posted on Fox Sports Midwest  |  Last updated 1/6/12
Kwamain Mitchell is back and starring at guard for Saint Louis University, but he's yet to make an impact in scoring. Mitchell averaged just under 16 points a game in his breakout sophomore season, but after sitting out last year due to a university suspension, he has yet to regain his scoring touch. His ball-handling and playmaking are as good, if not better, than ever. But his shooting percentage has dropped from 45 percent as a sophomore to 41 percent this season. In SLU's 79-72 overtime loss to Dayton on Wednesday, Mitchell tried to take charge late in the game, taking the ball and driving to the basket, but it didn't always work. In the final minutes of regulation, Mitchell made just one of four shots and had a turnover. He only lasted a 1:40 in overtime before dribbling the ball off his foot for a turnover, and then committing his fifth foul trying to get it back. "He's got to learn," SLU coach Rick Majerus said. "He over-handled the ball some when he shouldn't. He forced a couple shots." In other ways, Mitchell has been excellent. In the four games leading up to the Dayton loss he had 20 assists and one turnover. He has provided the on-court leadership that was lacking last season. But he seems to be pressing offensively. Majerus has noted that not only was Mitchell suspended for the first semester last season, but he also wasn't playing or practicing. Majerus has said he thought it would take a while for Mitchell to get his touch back, but with conference play picking up and SLU's shooters in a rut, the Billikens could use his touch. NOTES, QUOTES --Senior F Brian Conklin came into the week fifth in the nation in field-goal percentage at 66.1, which would be a school record if he could keep it there for the rest of the season. Conklin was a season-worst 4-for-10 against Dayton as he struggled with foul trouble. --Junior G Mike McCall Jr. had shot 70 percent from the field in his three games since being sat for a game for academic discipline reasons. With Mitchell in foul trouble against Dayton, McCall logged a season-high 31 minutes against Dayton but, like most of his teammates, struggled with his shooting, making just four of 11 attempts. BY THE NUMBERS: 53.0 -- The Billikens are giving up only 53 points a game, by far the fewest in the league as A-10 play approaches. The Billikens have allowed only six of their 14 opponents to score in the 60s. QUOTE TO NOTE: "We played well today. We didn't hit shots today. Credit them. I'd say we missed a lot of pretty good shots." -- Coach Rick Majerus, in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, after the loss at New Mexico STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL Next Up: --vs. George Washington, Jan. 7 KEY MATCHUPS: The Colonials snapped a seven-game losing skid in their last appearance, a 77-59 win over Delaware State at home. They have one of the A-10's better outside threats in G Tony Taylor, their leading scorer, and got a big game out of G Lasan Kromah in the win. ON THE SPOT: Junior C Cory Remekun is SLU's only low post player on the bench, and he's usually called on for 10 to 12 minutes of relief for the team's other big men. But Remekun has begun to handcuff the team in recent games, getting in quick foul trouble and turning SLU's nine-man rotation into an eight-man rotation and leaving the team thin down low. Remekun has always been young for his year in school and SLU wanted to redshirt him his first two years but couldn't because of roster needs. Now as a junior, there is playing time available for him and a definite need, but he's having trouble being as physical as he needs to be and fulfilling his defensive assignments. Freshman C John Manning isn't ready to step in, so SLU needs Remekun to provide minutes off the bench. FUTURES MARKET: Sophomore G Jordair Jett has yet to start a game this season but averaged 21.2 minutes a game over the first two months, sixth most on the team. He has played at least 28 minutes in three games, including the Billikens' last game against New Mexico. He averaged just 5.9 points a game for the season, but that was fourth best on the team. PLAYER NOTES: --Senior F Brian Conklin scored 20 points in the loss at New Mexico, his third straight game in double figures. Only twice this season had he failed to reach double digits through Wednesday, settling for nine points against Villanova and eight against Arkansas State. He also had nine rebounds against the Lobos, a season-high. --Junior F Cody Ellis was back in double figures with 10 points off the bench at New Mexico. He had scored only 14 points combined against Arkansas State and Texas Southern after reaching double figures in the previous seven games. --Junior G Kwamain Mitchell snapped a scoring slump with 13 points against New Mexico. He hadn't been in double figures since scoring 22 against Illinois-Springfield on Dec. 10, totaling 23 points over a three-game span with a high of nine twice. He had five assists and no turnovers against the Lobos, giving him 20 assists against only one turnover over his last four games.
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