The Butler men’s basketball team fell short against Saint Louis Friday night, losing 65-61.
Junior guard Mike McCall Jr. led the Billikens (21-5, 10-2) with 18 points while junior forward Dwayne Evans added 17 points.
Sophomore forward Roosevelt Jones and senior guard Rotnei Clarke had 13 points each for the Bulldogs (22-6, 9-4).
Turnovers were an issue for Butler, who turned the ball over 14 times compared to Saint Louis’s four turnovers.
The Billikens were able to capitalize and scored 19 points off Butler turnovers.
Saint Louis’s shooters struggled early in the first half as they went more than five minutes without scoring, letting the Bulldogs take a 17-9 lead with 11:47 remaining in the half.
The Billikens also shot only 1 of 10 from behind the 3-point line in the first half.
Freshman guard Kellen Dunham led all first half scores with 14 points, going 2 of 3 from 3-point land and making all four of his free throw attempts.
Unfortunately for Butler, Dunham was held scoreless for the remainder of the game.
Saint Louis went on a key 19-7 run to start the second half as they pushed the lead to 48-41 with 13:27 to play.
The Billikens’ lead grew to as much as nine points before the Bulldogs got back into the game with key shots from Clarke.
Though Butler came within a point of Saint Louis with 3:32 to go in the game, they were unable to come away with the lead after having several chances to put them on top.
Free throw shooting did not come easily to either team as the Bulldogs shot 57.7 percent from the line while the Billikens shot 53.8 percent.
Coach Brad Stevens said Saint Louis’s early second half run was crucial to the game’s outcome.
“The start of the second half was the difference in the game, the first eight minutes or so,” Stevens said. “We stalled in the second half.”
Saint Louis dominated inside, outscoring Butler 38-14 in the paint.
Butler had previously lost on the road to the Billikens 75-58 on Jan. 31.
“To lose to a team twice, it hurts more than most,” Jones said.
Saint Louis remains in first place in the Atlantic 10 Conference standings at 10-2 in league play.
VCU is currently in second at 9-3 while Butler is in third at 9-4.
The Bulldogs are not back in action until Saturday, March 2 when they will take on the Rams of VCU in a road matchup.
Butler previously played VCU in the national semifinals of the 2011 Final Four.
The game will be nationally televised on ESPN at noon.