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SLU v Butler

SLU players, including D.J. Foreman (1) and Fred Thatch Jr., celebrate in the student cheering section after Saturday's 64-52 victory over Butler at Chaifetz Arena. Photo by Chris Lee.

St. Louis University used a strong defensive performance in the final 30 minutes Saturday to shut down Butler, and Javon Bess scored 18 points as the Billikens beat the Bulldogs 64-52 at Chaifetz Arena on Saturday.

Butler shot 28 percent and Bess added to his offense by holding Kamar Baldwin, who was averaging 19.7 points, to six points on 3-for-17 shooting.

SLU scored its final 10 points on free throws after building a 15-point lead with six minutes left. The Bulldogs got as close as seven in the closing minutes.

Butler had a stretch between the first and second halves when it missed 14 consecutive shots and 18 of 19. SLU took control during that time by wiping out an eight-point deficit to go ahead by six at halftime and 10 early in the second half.

"I thought that was one of the better defensive performances I've been a part of in my 23 years as a college head coach," SLU coach Travis Ford said. "I thought it was just an incredible performance."

SLU blocked eight shots with Carte'Are Gordon swatting four. The Billikens had eight steals. And they guarded the 3-point line with effectiveness after a rough start, holding Butler to 4-for-24 beyond the arc.

SLU outscored Butler 26-8 during the decisive stretch. The Billikens shot 46.5 percent and overcame 19 turnovers and some poor early free-throw shooting.