Kwamain Mitchell is back and starring at guard for Saint Louis University, but he's yet to make an impact in scoring.
Mitchell averaged just under 16 points a game in his breakout sophomore season, but
after sitting out last year due to a university suspension, he has yet to regain his scoring
touch. His ball-handling and playmaking are as good, if not better, than ever. But his
shooting percentage has dropped from 45 percent as a sophomore to 41 percent this season.
In SLU's 79-72 overtime loss to Dayton on Wednesday, Mitchell tried to take charge
late in the game, taking the ball and driving to the basket, but it didn't always work. In the
final minutes of regulation, Mitchell made just one of four shots and had a turnover. He
only lasted a 1:40 in overtime before dribbling the ball off his foot for a turnover, and
then committing his fifth foul trying to get it back.
"He's got to learn," SLU coach Rick Majerus said. "He over-handled the ball some
when he shouldn't. He forced a couple shots."
In other ways, Mitchell has been excellent. In the four games leading up to the Dayton
loss he had 20 assists and one turnover. He has provided the on-court leadership that was
lacking last season. But he seems to be pressing offensively. Majerus has noted that not
only was Mitchell suspended for the first semester last season, but he also wasn't playing
or practicing. Majerus has said he thought it would take a while for Mitchell to get his
touch back, but with conference play picking up and SLU's shooters in a rut, the Billikens
could use his touch.
--Senior F Brian Conklin came into the week fifth in the nation in field-goal percentage
at 66.1, which would be a school record if he could keep it there for the rest of the season.
Conklin was a season-worst 4-for-10 against Dayton as he struggled with foul trouble.
--Junior G Mike McCall Jr. had shot 70 percent from the field in his three games since
being sat for a game for academic discipline reasons. With Mitchell in foul trouble
against Dayton, McCall logged a season-high 31 minutes against Dayton but, like most of
his teammates, struggled with his shooting, making just four of 11 attempts.
BY THE NUMBERS: 53.0 -- The Billikens are giving up only 53 points a game, by far
the fewest in the league as A-10 play approaches. The Billikens have allowed only six of
their 14 opponents to score in the 60s.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "We played well today. We didn't hit shots today. Credit them. I'd
say we missed a lot of pretty good shots." -- Coach Rick Majerus, in the St. Louis Post-
Dispatch, after the loss at New Mexico.