Senior forward Sean McDermott recorded his third career double-double with 16 points and 14 rebounds to lead Butler to a 77-55 win over St. John’s on Senior Night on Wednesday night in Indianapolis.
Jordan Tucker added 14 points as part of a balanced Butler effort. The Bulldogs (21-9, 9-8 Big East) had five players finish in double figures, with Aaron Thompson adding 13 points, Kamar Baldwin tallying 12 and Bryce Nze contributing 11 points and six rebounds.
Julian Champagnie led the Red Storm (15-15, 4-13) with 23 points, and he grabbed six rebounds. Greg Williams Jr. had 11 points and five boards.
In the teams’ first meeting, on Dec. 31 in New York, Butler relied on a 23-2 run in the first half along with a 7-0 spurt late in the game to pull out a 60-58 win over St. John’s. On Wednesday, the Bulldogs broke open a close game with a big second-half run. With the scored tied at 39-39, the Bulldogs scored nine straight points to take command.
Butler used a 30-11 spree in the first 12-plus minutes of the second half to seize a comfortable 61-43 lead after a layup by Henry Baddley.
After a subpar first half, the Bulldogs reeled off a 17-7 run early in the second half to go ahead 48-39. Thompson sparked the second-half resurgence with his defense. Jordan Tucker nailed a 3-pointer to raise the advantage to 53-41 at the 12:17 mark. Baldwin canned a 3-pointer to push the advantage to 67-47.
Coming off an impressive 91-71 win over then-No. 10 Creighton, the Red Storm gave the Bulldogs a tough battle in the first 30 minutes.
In the first half, St. John’s made the most of its limited 3-point attempts, connecting on four of seven treys. Champagnie tallied 16 points to give the Red Storm a 32-31 lead at halftime. The Bulldogs shot 42.3 percent from the field before the break while the Red Storm hit 41.9 percent.
Overall, Butler outshot St. John’s 50 percent to 36.7 percent, and the hosts had a 38-30 rebounding edge.
—Field Level Media