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Billikens gain edge in tussle for tourney slots

From wire and staff reports

Box Score

ST. LOUIS — Any thoughts that East Carolina might sneak into town and snatch its first-ever Conference USA road win at the expense of a euphoria-distracted Saint Louis team were quickly dispelled on Saturday.

Conference USA's 14-team  scramble for 12 tournament berths heats up... Standings & more...

Marque Perry scored a game-high 22 points, including 15 in the first half, as the Billikens retained their focus in the afterglow of upsetting No. 2 Louisville earlier in the week and trounced the cold-shooting Pirates 56-42.

Josh Fisher and Chris Sloan added 10 points apiece for SLU (10-12 overall, 4-7 Conference USA), which has won its past four home games, including Wednesday's 59-58 toppling of the Cardinals.

Erroyl Bing had 11 points for the Pirates (12-10, 3-8), who have lost their past seven road games and all 14 of their league road contests since joining C-USA last season.

With the victory, Saint Louis seized an advantage on ECU in the 14-team scrum for berths in the March conference tournament, which will invite the top 12 teams. The Billikens moved into 6th place in the seven-team American Division, relegating the Pirates to the cellar.

Other teams in danger of missing out on berths include Southern Miss and Texas Christian, the bottom teams in the National Division heading into Saturday's games. The Golden Eagles were 3-7 going into a home contest with DePaul, while TCU was 2-8 entering its night game on the road at Tulane.

East Carolina, trailing 30-14 at halftime, closed to within 32-20 of the Billikens with 16:44 left.

But five minutes later, Saint Louis had its largest lead of the game at 41-22 and never looked back.

In rolling to a 30-14 halftime lead, Saint Louis outscored East Carolina 17-1 in the final 11:31 of the first half. Perry scored eight unanswered points on three jumpers during the run.

East Carolina's only point during that stretch was a free throw by Bing at 6:45, and the Pirates missed their last 11 field-goal attempts in the half, finishing the half having missed 15 of their 20 shots while St. Louis made half of its 28 tries.

Saint Louis finished 23-of-51 (45.1%) from the field, while East Carolina connected on only 13 of 40 (32.5%).

ECU will now have back-to-back opportunities at home to improve its position in the conference standings, hosting DePaul on Tuesday night (7 PM, WITN-TV 7) and cross-state rival Charlotte on Saturday night (7 PM.)


East Carolina (12-10, 3-8) 42, Saint Louis (10-12, 4-7) 56

Player           FG      FT      PTS
Bing             4-6     3-4     11
Mikulas          3-6     3-4      9
Rivers           2-7     1-4      6
Moore            0-7     0-0      0
Holcomb-Faye     3-9     2-2     10
MacKay           1-2     0-0      2
Rouse            0-0     0-0      0
Boddie           0-2     0-0      0
Badiane          0-1     4-4      4
Totals           13-40   13-18   42

Player           FG      FT      PTS
Sloan            4-9     2-2     10
Brown            4-5     0-0      8
Fisher           4-7     0-1     10
Perry            9-17    4-6     22
Diener           0-7     0-0      0
Drejaj           0-2     2-2      2
Hunt             0-0     0-0      0
Shortal          0-0     0-0      0
Ohanon           2-3     0-0      4
Braun            0-1     0-0      0
Totals           23-51   8-11    56

Halftime: Saint Louis 30, East Carolina 14.

3-point goals: East Carolina 3-17 (Bing 0-2, Rivers 1-5, Moore 0-3, Holcomb-Faye 2-4, MacKay 0-1, Boddie 0-2); Saint Louis 2-15 (Sloan 0-2, Fisher 2-3, Perry 0-3, Drejaj 0-1, Diener 0-5, Ohanon 0-1).

Rebounds: East Carolina 31 (Bomg 10); Saint Louis 29 (Brown 6).

Assists: East Carolina 7 (Holcomb-Faye 2), Saint Louis 13 (Drejaj 6).

Total fouls: East Carolina 13, Saint Louis 17.

Fouled out: None.

Technical fouls: Holcomb-Faye.

Attendance: 8,325.

02/23/2007 10:56 AM

Copyright 2003 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. contributed to this report.


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