Second-half run powers Butler past ODU
Buffalo, NY (Sports Network) – A.J. Graves scored 18 points as Butler used a
big second-half run to topple Old Dominion, 57-46, in the first round of the
Midwest Region of the NCAA Tournament.
Mike Green scored 14 points and grabbed 10 rebounds as the fifth-seeded
Bulldogs (28-6) hit five consecutive threes — including three straight by
Pete Campbell — during a decisive 17-0 second-half run.
Brandon Crone added 12 points for Butler, which will now square off against
fourth-seeded Maryland in the second round on Saturday.
Brandon Johnson scored 11 points while Arnaud Dahi, Valdas Vasylius and Gerald
Lee had 10 points for the Monarchs (24-9), who received an at-large bid out of
the Colonial Athletic Association.
Lee was a perfect 5-for-5 from the floor and also had 11 rebounds.
After a Johnson jumper and a Vasylius trey gave Old Dominion a 32-29 lead 6
1/2 minutes into the second half, Graves hit a three to tie it and Campbell
followed with three straight from beyond the arc to give the Bulldogs a 41-32
advantage. Green capped the run of five straight threes and then dropped in a
layup to cap the run of 17 straight points by Butler and make it 46-32 with
6:20 left in the game.
A brief 8-2 spurt brought the Monarchs within nine, 51-42, on Dahi’s three-
point play with 2:37 remaining. However, Old Dominion was unable to get closer
as Butler hit its free throws down the stretch to ice the game.
“(The Monarchs) are a very good defensive team,” said Graves. “They played
pretty physical today and did switch a lot out there. They made things
difficult for most of the game, but we found a way to get it done in the end.”
A Graves three followed by a Brian Ligon putback to start the game quickly put
Butler up 5-0, but that would be the largest lead enjoyed by the Bulldogs in
the first half as Old Dominion battled back. The game remained tight
throughout the half and Lee’s putback with time running out gave the Monarchs
a 20-19 lead at the break.
Lee was 4-for-4 from the field in the first half, scoring eight points to go
along with seven rebounds.
“Butler has had a fabulous season and it seems like they’ve found a way many
nights to get to the winners circle,” said Old Dominion head coach Blaine
Taylor. “It’s not a team where you necessarily want to get behind because
they can burn the clock and make three-pointers.”
Butler improved to 6-6 in the NCAA Tournament, while Old Dominion fell to
2-9…In their last tournament appearance in 2003, the Bulldogs reached the
Sweet 16 before losing to Oklahoma.