No. 9 Butler absorbs 75-58 whipping at Saint Louis
By R.B. FALLSTROM
ST. LOUIS (AP) Rotnei Clarke accepted the blame. There was plenty to share up and down the roster for No. 9 Butler.
The Bulldogs committed a season-worst 23 turnovers and trailed by double digits most of the way in a 75-58 loss at Saint Louis on Thursday night. As players trudged off the court, hundreds of fans from the first sellout of the season stormed the court.
"We've been in tough environments," Clarke said. "This is obviously a good environment to play in and they just out-toughed us.
"It starts with me being the point guard with the ball in my hand. I turned the ball over too much, that got the tone set for them."
Clarke had 17 points and three assists for Butler (17-4, 4-2 Atlantic-10) but also had a season-high six turnovers. Five came in the first half, helping Saint Louis take a 17-point lead.
Andrew Smith added 12 points and six rebounds for the Bulldogs, who have lost four games this season, three by 15 or more points.
"It was really obvious," coach Brad Stevens said. "They had their way with us and they were clearly the best team.
"They absolutely deserved to win."
Jordair Jett matched his career best with 19 points for Saint Louis, which recorded the program's biggest upset in nine years and posted its largest victory margin ever against a ranked opponent.
Dwayne Evans added 15 points on 6-for-8 shooting and five rebounds for the Billikens (15-5, 4-2 Atlantic-10), who fed off the fourth sellout at 5-year-old Chaifetz Arena and shot 50 percent.
"They got too much easy stuff on the other end," Stevens said. "Dwayne Evans really had his way with us on the interior, it didn't matter who was guarding him."
Butler is the highest-ranked opponent to play at Saint Louis, led by interim coach Jim Crews with a roster assembled by the late Rick Majerus, since No. 2 North Carolina in 2006-07. The Bulldogs are Saint Louis' biggest victim since a 1-point upset over No. 2 Louisville on Feb. 12, 2003 at the Scottrade Center.
Jett, who was 8 for 12 with two 3-pointers, also scored 19 points against Villanova on Nov. 25, 2011.
More important was the other end of the court. Saint Louis leads the conference in scoring defense, allowing 57.8 points.
Butler was saddled with 16 turnovers in the first half, only two shy of its season high, combined with 37.5 percent shooting that added up to a 34-23 halftime lead for Saint Louis. Clarke had nine points and four turnovers and Kyhle Marshall was held to two points with five turnovers.
On its first 29 possessions, Butler had six baskets and 16 turnovers. Down 17 points late in the half, the Bulldogs finally woke up with nine quick points in a stretch of 1:07 before Jett, a reserve who had 13 points in 13 minutes on 5-for-6 shooting, answered with a 3-pointer with 7 seconds to make it 34-23.
Butler was down 14-12 when Clarke scored off a drive with 8:14 to go. The Bulldogs had just one more basket over the 7 1/2 minutes and not that many chances, either, with an uncharacteristic rash of mistakes forced by Saint Louis' aggressive, overplaying defense.
Jett had a layup and 3-pointer in a 14-0 run capped by Rob Loe's 3-pointer with 3:20 to go that put the Billikens up 31-14.
Updated February 1, 2013
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