ST. LOUIS — Dwayne Evans had 16 points and 17 rebounds and No. 16 Saint Louis hit 17 of its 20 shots in a pull-away second half, clinching a share of the Atlantic 10 title with a 78-54 victory over La Salle on Saturday.
Kwamain Mitchell had 19 points and six assists on Senior Day for Saint Louis (24-6, 13-3 A-10), which won its first conference title since 1970-71 in the Missouri Valley. Rob Loe matched his career best with 20 points, hitting all seven shots and the Billikens shot 58 percent overall, one game after shooting a season-worst 30 percent in an overtime loss at Xavier.
Saint Louis has won 12 of 13 and can take the title outright if VCU loses at Temple on Sunday.
Tyrone Garland had 15 points off the bench for La Salle (21-8, 11-5), which entered the day in second place after winning seven of eight and had been 2-0 in the Chaifetz Arena. Ramon Galloway, who leads the Explorers with a 17.8-point average, was just 3 for 12 and had eight points.
La Salle is second on the A-10 in free-throw shooting at 75 percent but missed seven of its first 10 attempts and finished 6 for 15.
Saint Louis was 1 for 9 on 3-pointers in the first half, but made its first two after the break with Loe and Mike McCall Jr. connecting during a 10-2 run for an 11-point cushion with just under 12 minutes left. La Salle got no closer than nine points the rest of the way.
Coming off a 29-point effort in La Salle's home finale, Galloway was a focus of the Saint Louis defense and at times forced things, making only one of nine shots in the first half. Galloway was 19 for 30 overall the previous two games including 7 for 14 from 3-point range.
La Salle scored seven straight points to go up 27-23 with just under four minutes left in the half. After a timeout, Saint Louis pounded it inside the rest of the half with Evans, who had missed four of his first five shots, scoring the last six for a 31-29 lead that left him just two points of a double-double.
Cody Ellis missed his first three shots, extending a two-game drought to 0 for 18, before hitting a layup late in the half.
Mills had 10 points at the half, just his third time in double figures the last seven games.