Defense powers Saint Louis past Butler, 64-52

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ST. LOUIS Saint Louis received a game-high 18 points from senior Javon Bess, but it was Bess’ defensive effort that drew the hype on Saturday as the Billikens registered a 64-52 victory over Butler at Chaifetz Arena.

Saint Louis improves to 6-1 overall and 5-0 at Chaifetz Arena. Butler dips to 5-2. A season-high 9,572 were in attendance.

Bess’ 18 points came on 5-of-10 shooting from the floor (including a pair of treys) and 6-of-6 from the stripe. It was on the defensive end where Bess really shined. He helped hold Butler leading scorer Kamar Baldwin (19.7 ppg) to six points on 3-of-17 shooting. Baldwin did not register his first field goal until there was less than five minutes remaining in the second half.

Also contributing to the defensive effort was Fred Thatch Jr. He also pumped in seven points, including a dunk off a steal that sent the SLU student section into a frenzy.

The Billikens forced Butler into 14 turnovers, a season high for the Bulldogs. Also, Butler’s 52 points were a season low. Additionally, Butler managed just four treys in the game, well shy of their 9.2 3-pointers per game average.

Tramaine Isabell Jr. chipped in 10 points for the Bills thanks to 8-of-10 shooting from the stripe. Hasahn French had nine points, while Jordan Goodwin and Carte’Are Gordon scored eight points apiece. Gordon recorded four blocked shots.

The Billikens trailed by eight in the first half, but a 17-0 SLU run put the Billikens in command. SLU ended the first half on a 12-0 run, then scored the first five points of the second half. The Billiken lead grew to 15 in the second half of play as SLU never trailed the rest of the way.

Saint Louis returns to action Wednesday night when it travels to Carbondale, Illinois, to face the Southern Illinois Salukis. Tip time is 7 p.m., and the game will be streamed on ESPN+.

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