St. Louis 75, Butler 58

Bucky Dent, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

ST. LOUIS -- It was billed as a "blizzard" in Chaifetz Arena, with nearly everyone in an arena-record audience of 10,612 wearing white.
Saint Louis buried mistake-prone Butler under an avalanche of 3-pointers and 3-point plays Thursday night, upsetting the 9th-ranked Bulldogs 75-58 to create a huge logjam atop the Atlantic 10 Conference.
Reserve Jordair Jett scored a game-high 19 points for the Billikens (15-5, 4-2), while Dwayne Evans added 15 and Rob Loe hit for 12 points. It was the second win over a ranked team in a month for SLU, which drilled New Mexico 60-46 on New Year's Eve.
Rotnei Clarke led Butler (17-4, 4-2) with a game-high 17 points and Andrew Smith contributed 12. However, the Bulldogs coughed up 23 turnovers -- the most in coach Brad Stevens' six seasons -- and Saint Louis turned them into 26 points.
The Billikens hit a half-dozen 3s and also created five opportunities for conventional 3-point plays as they were simply quicker to the ball than the normally-sound Bulldogs. Saint Louis' student section stormed the floor as time expired.
Seven teams now have two losses in the A-10, with VCU and Xavier leading the pack at 5-2. Butler, SLU, Charlotte, Massachusetts and George Washington are all a half-game back.
The first half storyline was Butler's stunning turnover jag. The Bulldogs, who entered the game averaging just 12.4 turnovers, committed 16 in the first 17 minutes and it finally put them in a hole.
Emerging from a deep shooting slump, Saint Louis scored on eight straight possessions, four after Butler turnovers, to open up a 31-14 lead on Rob Loe's 3-pointer with 3:20 left in the first half. As Stevens asked for time, the arena shook with excitement.
Butler quickly rattled off nine straight points, with Clarke converting a 4-point play, to draw within 31-23. But Jett finished off a 13-point half by burying a 3 with 7.5 seconds left, giving the Billikens an 11-point lead at halftime.
NOTES: At No. 9, Butler was the highest-ranked team to visit Saint Louis since No. 2 North Carolina played at Scottrade Center during the 2006-07 campaign. ... The Billikens' Cody Ellis was one of three players to lead his team in scoring (11.2 points per game) despite not starting a game. The other two were DeQuan Hicks (14.7) of Northwestern State and Malcolm Miller (16.7) of Southern.

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