St. Louis 78, Duquesne 77
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP)—Tommie Liddell hit a go-ahead layup with 2:00 to play and St. Louis held Duquesne without a basket the rest of the way in posting a 78-77 victory in the opening round of the Atlantic 10 Conference tournament on Wednesday.
Duquesne, which recovered from the tragedy of having five players shot in an on-campus incident in September to make the conference tournament, had a chance to tie the game with 7.6 seconds to play, but Scott Grote missed the second of two free throws.
The Dukes got one final chance when Ian Vouyoukas missed the front end of a one-and-one opportunity with 6.2 seconds left, but Kevin Lisch stripped the ball from Aaron Jackson as he went to shoot with about two seconds to play. Jackson got an off-balance shot off after recovering the ball, but it was uncertain whether it would have counted.
St. Louis will face second-seeded Massachusetts (23-7) in one of four second-round games at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City.
Vouyoukas, who also missed a one-and-one chance with 28.1 seconds to play and St. Louis ahead 78-76, had 19 points and nine rebounds for the seventh-seeded Billikens (19-12). Lisch added 18 points, while Luke Meyer—who had a key strip with less than 40 seconds to play— had 16 and Liddell added 14.
Grote, an 80 percent free throw shooter who was 3-of-6 from the line, and Kieron Achara had 14 points apiece for Duquesne (10-18), which finished the season with an eight-game losing streak.
Still, coach Ron Everhart did a great job this season taking over a program that went 3-24 last year and then overcame the shooting tragedy to become one of the feel-good stories in college basketball.
Robert Mitchell added 12 points, Gary Tucker had 11 and Reggie Jackson 10 for Duquesne.
Down by nine points early in the second half, St. Louis used a 19-4 spurt to take a 60-54 lead on a 3-point play by Liddell. The Billikens were still ahead 71-63 on a jumper by Lisch with eight minutes to play, but Duquesne scored the next eight points.
Three points by Vouyoukas at the end of a 5-0 spurt got the lead back to 76-71 with 3:33 to go but Tucker tied the game on a three-point play with 2:29 left.
Liddell then made a power move along the right baseline for the go-ahead basket.