TSX: Mitchell Tries To Do Too Much

Kwamain Mitchell

The Sports Xchange explores the return of junior guard Kwamain Mitchell.

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.

NOTES, QUOTES --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.

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