Sims 33 Not Enough for Saints in Butler Loss

KSCB News - February 22, 2015 9:17 am

For five straight seasons, the Jayhawk West Conference Championship has been celebrated in the Greenhouse. The last four times being the homestanding Saints doing the celebrating and the year before that, the Butler Grizzlies hoisting the hardware. Saturday night the Greenhouse was the place for another celebration and unfortunately it was the Grizzlies doing it once again as Butler hammered Seward from the opening tip, beating the Saints 98-79 to end Seward’s run at the top of the conference.

Playing in their final Jayhawk West Conference home game, four Saints sophomores drew the start Saturday and actually got off to a good start against the #8 team in the country in Butler. Kevin Sims hit a three to give the Saints the lead and get things going and Seward would hold the lead for the first 3:31 of the game. That was the end of the positives for Seward. Butler went on a 7-0 run to take their first lead of the game and before the Saints could figure out what hit them, the Grizzlies had blown the game open to 28-12. Sims put the Saints on his back over the next six minutes, scoring eight straight points for Seward to draw the Saints back to within ten at 30-20. But as quickly as Seward found themselves back in the game, they were back out of it as Butler counterpunched and scored on 8 of their next 10 trips down the floor to blow the game open to 45-24. Seward was able to cut the distance by five before the half but at the break it was all Butler 56-40.

Seward shot 46% in the half, but Butler hit 58% of their shots and got up 11 more field goal attempts than the Saints thanks to a 22-10 advantage on the glass. Both teams had trouble hanging onto the ball as Seward turned it over 16 times compared to 11 for Butler. Sims led all scorers with 20 points, equaling the output of the rest of the Saints lineup.

Things didn’t get any better as the second half got underway as the Saints deficit quickly grew from 16 to 27 as Butler took a 71-44 lead in front of a thinning Seward County crowd. Sims and Secean Johnson gave it their best efforts for the Saints, chipping away at the Butler lead until they were within 14 at 75-61 with 8:24 to go but an apparent blocked shot for Seward was called a foul, Johnson’s fourth sending him to the bench and Butler went on a 6-0 run with him out of the contest to once again make it a 20 point game. All that was left to determine was the final score and that ended up being 98-79 in favor of the Grizzlies handing the Saints their fifth loss on the Greenhouse floor this season.

Seward put up little to no second half resistance against the Butler offense as the Grizzlies shot 78%, missing just 5 field goals to finish the game at 66% from the floor. Seward shot 38% in the second half to finish at 41% for the game. The Saints were outrebounded 41-25 with their much smaller lineup and turned the ball over 22 times in the defeat. Sims was the lone bright spot for Seward, scoring a career high 33 in the loss while Johnson scored 16 for the Saints.

The loss eliminates the Saints from contention of hosting a first round playoff game as they fall to 14-14 on the year and 7-8 in Jayhawk West play where they are in 5th place at night’s end. Butler clinches the Jayhawk West Championship with help from Pratt as they improve to 27-2 overall and 13-2 in league play with the win.

The Saints will wrap up the regular season on Wednesday when they travel to Hutchinson to take on the #25 Blue Dragons in a 7:30 tip off.


Roy Allen


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