No. 11 Butler blows 23-point lead, survives St. John’s 60-58
NEW YORK -- Christian David hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 43 seconds left and No. 11 Butler rallied after blowing a 23-point lead to beat St. John’s 60-58 Tuesday night in the Big East opener for both teams.
St. John’s (11-3, 0-1) staged a 29-4 run in the second half and took a 48-46 advantage on Marcellus Earlington’s layup with 6:49 remaining.
Butler (13-1, 1-0) trailed 58-53 when Raheem Dunn hit an uncontested layup with 3:08 left, but then the Bulldogs clamped down defensively. Kamar Baldwin’s jumper made it 58-57 with 2:01 remaining, and following a series of wild sequences at the rim, Butler took the lead.
Earlington blocked Bryce Nze’s layup with 49 seconds left, but Butler retained possession when Aaron Thompson grabbed the rebound. Baldwin found David, who hit an open 3-pointer from the right corner.
Dunn missed a layup with 19 seconds remaining and LJ Figueroa missed a 3-point try with one second left.
Baldwin led Butler with 19 points and a career-high five 3-pointers. Sean McDermott and Jordan Tucker added 12 points apiece as Butler shot 40% and overcame 24 turnovers.
Nick Rutherford led St. John’s with 15 points and Dunn added 12 as the Red Storm shot 34.5% and missed 18 of 22 3-point attempts, including their first 11 tries.
Butler: Butler continued to be stout defensively, using an aggressive defense that held another opponent under 60 points. The Bulldogs have held 10 of their first 14 opponents under 60 points.
St. John’s: It was a tough night for leading scorer Figueroa, who picked up his fourth foul early in the second half and sat for most of the Red Storm’s comeback. He went scoreless in 13 minutes.
Butler hosts Creighton in its first Big East home game Saturday.
St. John’s visits Xavier on Sunday, which lost at Villanova in its conference opener.