Travis Taylor had 19 points and a career-high 19 rebounds and Xavier never trailed in the overtime, beating No. 16 Saint Louis 77-66, ending the Billikens’ 11-game winning streak and leaving the Atlantic 10 title up for grabs.
The Billikens (23-6, 12-3) had a chance to win a share of a conference title for the first time since 1970-71 in the Missouri Valley. Their last outright title came in 1956-57. They could have clinched the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament with a win on Wednesday.
Instead, they fell into a first-place tie with No. 21 VCU, which beat Richmond on Wednesday. Saint Louis beat VCU during its 11-game winning streak for the head-to-head advantage. Saint Louis finishes the season at home against third-place La Salle on Saturday. VCU is at Temple on Sunday.
The Billikens tied it on Jordair Jett’s tip-in with 11 seconds left in regulation, but they managed only one field goal in overtime. Taylor had a dunk and four free throws as the Musketeers pulled ahead 74-62. Kwamain Mitchell led Saint Louis with 17 points. Cody Ellis, the Billikens’ top 3-point shooter, missed all of his 15 shots — 11 behind the arc — and finished with four free throws.
Saint Louis leads the league and is ranked 19th nationally, allowing only 57.9 points per game. Xavier is second in the A-10, allowing 62.3 points. Those stingy defenses were locked in during the first half, which ended with the Billikens leading 24-20 — the seventh time that Saint Louis has held an opponent to 20 or fewer in the opening half.
Story courtesy of slubillikens.com