When VCU went on its run, its section had the place rocking, even booing Saint Louis cheerleaders.
The Rams were in their first season in the A-10 after winning the Colonial Athletic Association conference tournament title last year.
Saint Louis, also a relative newcomer, was making its first appearance in the A-10 title game after joining in 2005-06. Its only previous conference tournament crown came in 2000 in Conference USA.
Mitchell shot 7 of 9 from the floor. So excited for his team's prospects after Saint Louis won a game in last year's NCAA tournament, Mitchell broke his foot in the second practice of the preseason.
But "he didn't have a pity party," Crews said.
"He has been a pillar with that kind of mentality and attitude," the coach added.
Dwayne Evans scored 16 points after combining for 49 the previous two days and earned tournament MVP honors. The Billikens got to the foul line 33 times but missed 12 free throws to help VCU stick around.
"These guys off the court have had a lot of situations," Crews said. "And certainly on the floor you always have different situations. You're going to have ebb and flows. You're going to not play well. You're going to make a mistake. You're going to have a period of time where things aren't going your way, things you might not even understand off the court or on the court.
"All you can do is try to do the next right thing."