Saint Louis fell 73-59 to No. 12 Kansas Tuesday night in the championship game of the CBE Hall of Fame Classic at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.
The Billikens (2-2) were led by senior forward Cody Ellis’ 19 points, which was one off his career high. Junior forward Dwayne Evans pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds and was named to the All-Tournament team.
Kansas (4-1) picked up a game-high 25 points from Jeff Whithey and 23 points from Tournament MVP Travis Releford. The Jayhawks shot 45 percent from the field, which included 7-of-13 from 3-point range, compared to a 34.6-percent shooting mark for the Billikens.
Saint Louis was hampered by 10 first-half turnovers. The Bills committed just two in a second half that saw each team score 34 points.
The Jayhawks led wire-to-wire, building a double-digit lead midway through the first half. But the resilient Billikens did not go down quietly. A 6-0 run, capped by a 3-pointer by junior guard Mike McCall Jr., late in the first half trimmed the Kansas lead to 12 at 32-20 with 3:05 remaining.
Later, a trey by junior forward Jake Barnett and a pair of free throws by Evans made it an 11-point game. Kansas ended up hitting three free throws late in the half and took a 39-25 advantage into the break.
In the second half, Ellis and Barnett put together a 5-0 scoring spurt as Kansas led 50-39 with 13:34 left.
Every time Kansas would try to pull away, the Billikens would respond with big baskets. Ellis hit back-to-back treys to pull the Bills within 10 at 61-51 at the 7:09 mark.
Another 3-pointer by Ellis at 3:51 trimmed the Billiken deficit to just nine, but Whithey would score the next six points and Kansas escaped with the 14-point victory.
Ellis ended up 6-of-20 from the field and hit three 3-pointers in the second half. He also pulled down seven rebounds. McCall Jr. scored 13 points, while senior forward Cory Remekun pumped in 10.
Barnett registered a career high with nine points, which came on a 3-for-3 effort from long range.
SLU returns to action this Saturday, Nov. 24, when it takes on Southern Illinois at Chaifetz Arena. Game time is scheduled for 7 p.m.