ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. – Tu Holloway led all-scorers with 21 points as Xavier knocked off Saint Louis University 71-64 Saturday afternoon to advance to the Atlantic 10 championship game. The loss dropped SLU to 25-7 heading into Selection Sunday.
Jordair Jett hit a pair of free throws to pull the Billikens within two with 2:34 left in regulation, but Mark Lyons responded on Xavier’s next possession with a three-pointer to push the score to 63-58 heading into the final two minutes.
SLU had a golden opportunity to make one last run at Xavier when Holloway’s three-point attempt with 30 seconds left clanked off the basket, but Kenny Frease somehow came down with the rebound to bail out his teammate and kill the Billikens’ chances.
Senior Brian Conklin hit four of nine shots and six of nine free throws to finish the game with 14 points, but he was a non-factor in every other aspect of the game, failing to register a single rebound or assist. He fouled out with 18 seconds left.
Kwamain Mitchell and Dwayne Evans both nearly had double-doubles for SLU. Mitchell finished with 10 points and nine assists, while Evans pulled down eight rebounds to go with 11 points.
Cody Ellis and Jordair Jett both came off the bench and scored in double figures for the Billikens who finished the game shooting 40.7% from the field and hitting just six of 24 three-point attempts as a team.
SLU simply did not have an answer for Xavier’s offense, allowing them to shoot 53.3% from the floor and 45% from behind the arc. They also out-rebounded the Billikens 29-23.