Lisch leads Saint Louis past No. 25 Dayton, 57-49
ST. LOUIS (AP)—Kevin Lisch knew points would be at a premium Saturday night against No. 25 Dayton.
But he came through for Saint Louis when it mattered most, making five three throws in the last 40 seconds and finishing with 16 points in the Billikens’ 57-49 victory.
“It’s always a hard-fought, tough-nosed game,” Lisch said. “You’ve just got to be in there for the long haul.”
Tommie Liddell added 10 points and five assists for Saint Louis (17-10, 8-5 Atlantic 10), which has won six of seven.
“Saint Louis right now is playing as good as anyone in the league, maybe better,” Dayton coach Brian Gregory said. “To be honest, for our league, it’s great to see. I have an unbelievable amount of respect for Coach (Rick) Majerus. To see this team grow has been kind of fun.”
Dayton did not have a lot of laughs on the offensive end Saturday, as the Flyers made just 17 of 55 shots. Chris Wright led the Flyers (23-4, 9-3) with 11 points, and Charles Little and Marcus Johnson added 10 points each.
The loss was Dayton’s second in 11 games.
“For 34 to 40 minutes, I thought we played pretty good,” Gregory said. “We lost to a good team on the road in a tough environment to play. We need to learn from it, get better and move on.”
The Billikens seemed to gain momentum from their first sellout at the Chaifetz Arena (10,603). The students stormed the floor after the game and the Saint Louis players went out to celebrate with them, which was fine with Majerus.
“It means a lot to the players to have the students there,” Majerus said. “I’m really, really happy for the guys.”
Lisch said the team now has a true home-court advantage after spending more than a decade playing at cavernous Scottrade Center.
“It’s better than I thought,” he said. “After being at Scottrade, we’d get good fans, but you just couldn’t hear them. This is great.”
Dayton trailed 28-24 at the half, but scored the first five points after the break to take its first lead. The game seesawed after that with neither team leading by more than three until Kwamain Mitchell converted a three-point play that gave Saint Louis a 47-42 lead with 3:25 left.
The Flyers pulled to 49-47 on Wright’s three free throws, but Eberhardt hit a 3-pointer from the right corner with 1:12 left to push the lead to 52-47. Lisch made two free throws to gave Saint Louis a 54-47 lead with 38.9 seconds left, and hit three more from the line down the stretch to seal the win.
Saint Louis scored first and stretched the lead to 22-12 when Mitchell drove to the basket and hit a runner with 8:43 left in the first half.
The Flyers began to chip away after that. Dayton scored the last four points of the half on a drive by Mickey Perry and a baseline jumper by Paul Williams with 1:13 left that made it 28-24.