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Saint Louis defeats Kennesaw State, 76-66

Nov 22, 2009 - 9:35 PM ST. LOUIS(AP) -- Sophomore Kyle Cassity scored a career-high 18 points, including four 3-pointers, to lead Saint Louis to a 76-66 victory over Kennesaw State on Sunday afternoon in the Chicago Invitational Challenge.

Christian Salecich scored 15 points and Brian Conklin added 11 for the Billikens, who never trailed, got 10 3-pointers and are 3-0 for the first time under coach Rick Majerus.

Jon-Michael Nickerson scored 17 points and Markeith Cummings added 14 to lead Kennesaw State (2-1).

Saint Louis scored the first 11 points of the second half to go ahead 42-28. Salecich started the half with a 3-pointer. Following a basket from Conklin, Salecich made another from long distance. Cassity capped the run with a 3-pointer, prompting a timeout from Kennesaw State with 17 minutes 12 seconds remaining.

But the Owls chipped away at the lead, thanks to their own 3-point shooting. Kennesaw State got four 3-pointers over the next seven minutes, including one from Kurtis Woods that cut Saint Louis' lead to 50-45 with 10:36 left.

Kennesaw State pulled to within 64-60 with four minutes left. But Saint Louis responded with a free throw from Conklin, a basket from Kwamain Mitchell and a layup from Cassity to go ahead 69-60. The Owls got no closer than seven points the rest of the way.

Saint Louis made six of its first seven shots and went ahead 16-4 following Justin Jordan's 3-pointer four minutes into the game. A basket from Femi John and a three-point play by Conklin gave the Billikens their largest lead of the first half, 24-10, with 11:33 remaining.

But Saint Louis went the next six minutes without a basket, allowing Kennesaw State back into the game. Nickerson made four consecutive shots and scored nine points for the Owls during a 14-3 run that cut the Billikens' lead to 27-24 with five minutes left in the half.

Kennesaw State got back-to-back baskets from Matt Heramb and Cummings just before halftime and trailed 31-28 at the intermission.