Recap: Saint Louis 78, La Salle 54
No. 15 Saint Louis 78, La Salle 54: Junior forward Dwayne Evans scored 16 points and tied his career high with 17 rebounds as the host Billikens secured at least a share of the Atlantic 10 title, their first conference championship in 42 years.Rob Loe scored a game-high 20 points, including all three 3-pointers he attempted, and Kwamain Mitchell added 19 points and six assists for Saint Louis (24-6, 13-3 Atlantic 10), which also secured the No. 1 seed for the A-10 tournament that begins Thursday at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. The Billikens last won a league title in 1970-71 when they tied for first in the Missouri Valley Conference.Tyrone Garland finished with 15 points and Tyreek Duren (13) and Sam Mills (12) also scored in double figures for La Salle (21-8, 11-5), which lost for just the second time in nine games.The game was tight in the first half which featured nine ties and six lead changes. La Salle led by as many as four points, 27-23, after a 3-pointer by Mills but Saint Louis, with Evans scoring six points, closed the half with an 8-2 run to take a 31-29 halftime lead.The game remained close early in the second half until the Billikens, fueled by 3-pointers by Loe and Mike McCall Jr., went on a 10-2 run to take a 52-41 lead with 11:50 to go. The Explorers never got closer than six points the rest of the way as Saint Louis connected on 17 of its 20 field goal attempts after intermission.GAME NOTEBOOK: The Billikens can claim their first outright league title since winning the Missouri Valley in1956-57 if VCU (24-6, 12-3) loses at Temple (22-8, 10-5) on Sunday. ... La Salle played without 6-11 C Steve Zack, who averages 6.4 points and 6.4 rebounds. Zack suffered a sprained left in a March 2 game against Duquesne and is scheduled to have the injury re-evaluated on Monday. ... Despite the loss, La Salle claimed one of four first-round byes for the conference tournament.
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