St. Louis, MO – Jordair Jett came off the bench to score a game-high 19 points to help Saint Louis knock off No. 9 Butler, 75-58, Thursday for a victory over the highest-ranked foe to ever visit Chaifetz Arena.
Dwayne Evans netted 15 points on 6-of-8 shooting from the floor for the Billikens (15-5, 4-2 A-10), who utilized a 24-4 first-half run and forced 23 turnovers en route to their third straight win. Rob Loe added 12 points, while Mike McCall Jr. donated nine on 3-of-6 shooting from behind the arc in the victory.
Rotnei Clarke led Butler with 17 points and Andrew Smith totaled 12 points and six rebounds for the Bulldogs (17-4, 4-2), who dropped their second straight conference road game versus an unranked opponent. Butler dropped a 54-53 decision at La Salle last week.
"We were just thinking 'Step on it. Make the lead go bigger,' Jett said. "That's how we play."
After both teams stayed toe-to-toe for the early part of the first half, Jett's layup tied the contest at 10-10. Things quickly changed, however, as the Billikens erupted on a 21-4 spurt -- with Jett providing eight points and Jake Barnett scoring the first four to start the run -- and Loe capping it off with a 3-pointer which made it 31-14 with 3:21 remaining before the break.
The Bulldogs didn't go down without a fight, however, ending the half on a 9-0 flurry after Andrew Smith's triple with 1:06 remaining brought the visitors within 31-23.
Jett, however, ended St. Louis' scoring drought with his second 3-pointer of the first half, which came with eight ticks left on the clock, and the home team went into the break up 11 points.
Butler's struggles were directly related to its 16 first-half turnovers and 37.5 percent shooting effort.
"The guys really work on deflections and things like that," Loe said. "We heard before the game that Butler hadn't really been pressured too much, and we wanted to get them out of their comfort zone."
The Billikens kept up their intensity to start the second half and owned a 51-34 advantage after two free throws by Cody Ellis six minutes into the stanza.
A couple possessions later, Ellis brought the crowd to its feet with a nifty 3-point play that again increased the Saint Louis lead to 17 (55-31) with 11 1/2 to play.
SLU cruised the rest of the way, holding a margin no fewer than 13 points. The deficit and momentum, for that matter, belonged to Saint Louis for much of the second half.
"I absolutely loved the way they moved the ball," Butler coach Brad Stevens said. "It was an absolute joy to watch one team play. The problem was, it wasn't the team I coached."
The announced crowd of 10,612 was the largest to ever witness a SLU basketball game in Chaifetz Arena history.
The Billikens have used stifling defensive play to frustrate most opponents and came into the contest leading the Atlantic 10 in scoring defense, allowing 57.8 points per game ... Saint Louis has won 12 of its last 14 games overall ... The Billikens shot 50 percent from the floor ... The Bulldogs came in having won three of the last four meetings in the series, although the two squads were matching up on the hardwood for the first time since the 2003-04 campaign ... Butler's Roosevelt Jones and Khyle Marshall combined for just nine points on 4-of-9 shooting in the loss ... Ellis finished with seven points and five boards in the victory.