What are we looking at in this Billikens Basketball Team this year? They’re playing crazy good ball right now and after dismantling the number 24 VCU Rams on Wednesday, and then toppling number 15 Butler on the road, they went and took first place in the Atlantic 10 Conference with authority. Yes folks, the Billikens are for real and everyone should know it. For the homers, there is no doubt that these Billikens (21-5, 10-2 A10) have to be considered as a serious threat to any team they share the court after their 4th win over a ranked team on the year (a school record), but the funny thing is that the Bills still won’t be considered a serious threat by the rest of the college basketball world until they make their mark on March.
Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana is a punishing environment for any traveling team…unless you happen to be the Saint Louis University Billikens on February 22nd, 2013. 10,000 strong, the sea of blue and white in the stands didn’t just represent the Butler Bulldogs (22-6, 9-4 A10) faithful, but also included some Bills fans as well as SLU stunned the favorites 65-61. Butler pushed hard through the first half jumping out to a 4-0 lead in the first minute and a half, but the Bills wouldn’t go easy into the night making it 7-7 with just about 15 left to play in the first half.
St. Louis Junior Dewayne Evans (21) scored first following the Bulldogs tying the score back up, but the 9-7 lead was short lived as Butler freshman Guard, Kellan Dunham (24), put up 7 of the Bulldogs’ next unanswered 10 points. Evans and Junior Mike McCall Jr. (11) put St. Louis back in the game at 13-17 before the impressive as of late, Jordair Jett (5) put on a mini camp knocking down the Bills’ next 7 points making it 20-22.
Butler drove their lead up 9 points to 20-29 with 3:13 left leaving the Bills with some work to do. St. Louis caught reached 29 points, but still trailed at halftime 29-34. The Bills struggled in the first half and it was visibly to everyone that they were frustrated, but good things come to those that are patient. According to Butler Coach Brad Stevens, ”the start of the second half was the difference in the game,” and statistics would prove him correct as St. Louis jumped from 35% in the first half to 52% from the field in the second half. Butler on the other hand did almost the exact opposite in the second half dropping from 52% to 36%.
St. Louis allowed only 2 points before securing the lead for the rest of the game after the half. McCall finished the second half with 13 points total. At one time, St. Louis held as much as a 9 point advantage on enemy turf at 53-44. Ultimately, Butler scrambled the second half to keep up with the Bills, allowing St. Louis to leave with the 65-61 victory, and conference lead well in hand. Butler falls to 3rd place in the A10 behind St. Louis and VCU, who they play after their extended break on Saturday, March 2nd.