"We were just thinking `Step on it. Make the lead go bigger,"' guard Jordair Jett said. "That's how we play."
Jett matched his career best with 19 points in 23 minutes, but the reserve realized the school's biggest upset in nine years was decided on the other end of the court. Butler was hounded into a season-worst 23 turnovers in Saint Louis' 75-58 victory Thursday night that ended with fans storming the court to celebrate.
|More on college basketball|
"The guys really work on deflections and things like that," said center Rob Loe, who had 12 points. "We heard before the game that Butler hadn't really been pressured too much, and we wanted to get them out of their comfort zone."
Butler coach Brad Stevens had only admiration for the way his team was manhandled.
"I absolutely loved the way they moved the ball," Stevens said. "It was an absolute joy to watch one team play. The problem was, it wasn't the team I coached."
Dwayne Evans added 15 points on 6-for-8 shooting for the Billikens (15-5, 4-2 Atlantic-10), who fed off just the fourth sellout at 5-year-old Chaifetz Arena and led by double digits most of the game. Saint Louis shot 50 percent and the 17-point lead was the school's best-ever against a ranked opponent.
Rotnei Clarke had 17 points for Butler (17-4, 4-2) but also had six turnovers. Andrew Smith added 12 points and six rebounds for the Bulldogs, who have lost four games this season, three by 15 or more points.
"We pretty much got punked," Clarke said. "End of story. There's not really much to say about it. We got outclassed and we got punked."
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.
"Everyone was just focused. `Let's not waste a possession,"' Crews said. "I think our guys did a nice job of sustaining that mentality."
Jett, who was 8 for 12 with two 3-pointers, also scored 19 points against Villanova on Nov. 25, 2011.
Saint Louis leads the conference in scoring defense, allowing 57.8 points.
After Clarke, the other four Butler starters totaled 21 points. Khyle Marshall was held to two points and played just 10 minutes due to foul woes.
Stevens hadn't seen this coming.
"We've got to bounce back from this," he said. "This was going to be a really hard place to win if we played well, and we knew that.
"The disappointing thing is they made us not play well."
Butler was saddled with 16 turnovers in the first half, only two shy of its season worst against North Carolina and Indiana, 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 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 answered with a 3-pointer with 7 seconds left 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 Loe's 3-pointer with 3:20 to go that put the Billikens up 31-14.
|Saint Louis reserve guard Jordair Jett scores 19 points in 23 minutes in the Billikens upset of No. 9 Butler. (US Presswire)|
|Butler #9 (17-4)||23||35||58|
|Saint Louis (15-5) «||34||41||75|
|BUTLER:R. Clarke 17 Pts
BUTLER:K. Dunham 7 Reb
BUTLER:R. Jones 4 Ast
|STLOU:J. Jett 19 Pts
STLOU:C. Ellis 5 Reb
STLOU:C. Ellis 3 Ast
Billikens Swept Away T-Shirt - Royal Blue
$18.95 Shop Now!
|PLAYERS OF THE GAME|
|R. Clarke, G||35||5-12||4-5||0||3||1||17|
|R. Jones, F||30||3-7||1-4||5||4||3||7|
|A. Smith, C||26||5-13||1-1||6||0||0||12|
|A. Barlow, G||12||0-0||0-0||2||2||0||0|
|K. Marshall, F||10||1-2||0-0||3||1||3||2|
|K. Dunham, G||28||2-7||0-0||7||1||2||4|
|E. Fromm, F||15||1-1||0-0||2||0||3||2|
|K. Woods, F||15||2-4||1-1||6||1||2||5|
|C. Stigall, G||12||1-1||0-0||3||1||1||3|
|D. Morgan, G||10||1-1||0-0||0||1||1||2|
|J. Aldridge, G||4||0-0||2-2||0||0||0||2|
|A. Smeathers, G-F||3||1-3||0-0||1||0||0||2|
|E. Kampen, C||Did Not Play|
|E. Kampen, G||Did Not Play|
|Complete Box Score|
|Saint Louis Billikens|
|K. Mitchell, G||32||2-5||0-0||1||1||2||4|
|D. Evans, F||27||6-8||3-5||5||1||3||15|
|R. Loe, F||27||5-9||1-1||3||2||1||12|
|M. McCall Jr., G||24||3-8||0-0||3||1||3||9|
|G. Glaze, F||18||2-6||0-0||2||0||0||4|
|C. Ellis, F||24||2-9||3-4||5||3||2||7|
|J. Jett, G||23||8-12||1-4||4||2||2||19|
|J. Barnett, F||14||2-3||0-0||2||2||1||4|
|C. Remekun, F||11||0-0||1-2||3||0||1||1|
|J. Manning, C||Did Not Play|
|K. Carter, G||Did Not Play|
|J. Drew, F||Did Not Play|
|J. LePak, G||Did Not Play|
|Complete Box Score|