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Saint Louis' strong second half takes down No. 15 Butler
Indianapolis, IN (Sports Network) - Surging Saint Louis continued its impressive stretch by knocking off its second Top-25 team of the week.
Mike McCall Jr. posted 18 points and Dwayne Evans followed with 17 as the Billikens roared back with a strong second half to down 15th-ranked Butler, 65-61, on Friday at Hinkle Fieldhouse.
In recording its second nine-game winning streak of the season, Saint Louis (21-5, 10-2 A-10) now stands alone atop the conference. Kwamain Mitchell added 10 of his 12 points in the second half in the victory.
The Bulldogs (22-6, 9-4) have suffered defeat twice to the Billikens during their run and have fallen into third place in the conference with Friday's loss.
Kellen Dunham led Butler with 14 points -- all in the first half -- while Roosevelt Jones and Rotnei Clarke each had 13 in the setback.
Behind Dunham's strong performance early and an energized home crowd, the Bulldogs led by as many as nine and held a 34-29 lead at the break, but Saint Louis upped its game on both sides of the ball in the second half to take control.
The Billikens came out of the locker room and fired off 19-7 run, with Mitchell tallying eight during the surge to put the visitors ahead 48-41 less than seven minutes into the second half.
After falling behind by as many as nine, Butler rallied over the next nine minutes and had a chance to tie the game after Jones was fouled on a made layup, but he missed the free throw attempt and Evans scored in the paint on the ensuing Billikens possession to push their lead to 59-56.
The Bulldogs had two more chances to take the lead but couldn't capitalize. Kameron Woods drew a foul on an inbounds pass, but clanked both free throws with Butler down by one. The Bulldogs struggled mightily at free throw line all night, making just 57.5 percent (15-for-26) of their attempts.
Butler had another chance on its ensuing possession, but Clarke was called for offensive foul while trying to get the basket.
Mitchell then converted a pair from the line after drawing a foul on Jones, and Evans' tip-back on Saint Louis' next touch put the visitors ahead 63-58 with 1:21 to go and Butler never had another chance to draw even.
Saint Louis captured its first road victory over a Top-25 team since defeating No. 23 DePaul on Jan. 22, 2000. The Billikens had lost their last 16 road contests against Top-25 teams ... After shooting 52.4 percent in the first half, Butler made just 36 percent (9-for-25) of its attempts over the final 20 minutes.
02/22 21:46:46 ET
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