ST. LOUIS -- Before Kevin Lisch took an elbow to the nose and left the court bleeding with 11:45 to go, he was way off his game.
Down the stretch, Saint Louis' senior guard was inspired and unstoppable a 53-50 victory over Boston College on Saturday. Lisch scored all but two of his 15 points in the final 4:41."It knocked some sense into me, I guess," Lisch said. "It settled me down a little bit. I was playing a little hurried."Lisch was out about two minutes, then returned with a bandage over the bridge of his nose. He had two 3-pointers, each giving Saint Louis a 5-point lead, and was 5-for-6 from the free throw line in the final 36 seconds to hold off the Eagles."Who wouldn't like Lisch?" coach Rick Majerus said. "He's starting to play to a better rhythm."Brian Conklin added 11 points and nine rebounds for Saint Louis (2-1), which got a strong effort from a lineup featuring seven freshmen. The Billikens had a 41-32 rebounding advantage.Corey Raji hbad 22 points for Boston College (3-1), also young with 10 freshmen and sophomores. Senior Tyrese Rice, who averaged 22 points the first three games, was held to six on 2-for-14 shooting.Freshman Kwamain Mitchell drew Rice most of the time, and Lisch said the inside players did a good job of helping out after picks."He's a good player," Lisch said. "But we never gave him a chance to get going."Reggie Jackson added 10 points for Boston College, which plays No. 11 Purdue in the NIT Tip-Off semifinals on Wednesday. The Eagles averaged 84 points in their first three games but shot 33 percent and were only 3-for-16 from 3-point range.Tommie Liddell, Saint Louis' other senior starter, also overcame a slow start. He finished with nine points and nine rebounds after missing his first nine shots.Saint Louis lost 61-39 at Boston College last year, and ended a five-game losing streak against ACC teams dating to 2001."We're making progress," Majerus said. "But we've got a long way to go, believe me."Saint Louis scored five straight points to open the second half, capped by Lisch's fastbreak layup for his first points, of a game that was tied at the break.Freshmen accounted for Saint Louis' last 12 points in the first half, forging a 23-23 tie on Conklin's follow shot with 23 seconds to go. The Billikens stayed in despite shaky halves from Liddell 0-for-7 with three free throws, and Lisch, 0-for-2 and scoreless while drawing two fouls.