Brooklyn, NY – Dwayne Evans was spectacular on the block again and Saint Louis is a step closer to its first ever Atlantic 10 Tournament title.
Evans had 24 points and 11 rebounds in the 16th-ranked Billikens' 67-56 win over Butler in the semifinals of the A-10 tourney.
Evans tallied a career-high 25 points on 8-of-9 shooting and went a perfect 9- of-9 from the foul line in Friday's quarterfinal win over Charlotte. He was 7-of-10 from the field and 9-of-11 from the stripe Saturday.
"Some guys have a feel for where the bucket is," Billikens interim head coach Jim Crews said of Evans' low post game. "It sounds stupid because that bucket doesn't move, but you've got to have a sense."
The Billikens last won a conference tournament in 2000 when they downed DePaul in the Conference USA title game. They joined the Atlantic 10 in 2005-06. Interim head coach Jim Crews, filling in for the late Rick Majerus, led his squad to their first outright regular-season conference title since capturing the Missouri Valley Conference in 1956-57.
Cody Ellis added 13 points for Saint Louis (26-6), which has won 14 of its last 15 games and defeated Butler for the third time this season.
"They are a legitimate contender for the whole thing. I believe that wholeheartedly," Butler head coach Brad Stevens said. "They've got eight guys that are all strong, big, physical, tough, smart, skilled basketball players, and you don't need anything else if you're all together, and they've got it all."
The Billikens will play VCU in Sunday's A-10 final.
Rotnei Clarke netted 16 points to lead the Bulldogs (26-8), who defeated Dayton and La Salle to get to the semis.
Two Kellen Dunham free throws pulled Butler into a 42-42 tie with 12:38 left in the contest, but the Billikens countered with an 18-6 run to seize control of the game. Evans scored 14 points, including the final 12, during the burst, which gave Saint Louis a 60-47 lead with with 3:29 left.
Butler was held without a field goal for almost seven minutes during the stretch. The margin reached its apex at 17 in the waning moments.
Earlier, Rob Loe's layup just before the first-half buzzer gave Saint Louis a 27-25 cushion heading into the break.
No other Butler player finished in double figures besides Clarke ... Butler turned the ball over 20 times, while the Billikens gave it away 13 times ... Kwamain Mitchell had nine points and five steals for Saint Louis.