November 27, 2010

Bulldogs Lose In Overtime To Evansville, 71-68

INDIANAPOLIS, IND. -- Forward Denver Holmes hit a clutch three-point field goal with 0:18 left in overtime to lift visiting Evansville to a 71-68 victory over Butler in a non-league game at Hinkle Fieldhouse on Saturday, Nov. 27.  The loss, Butler's first at home in the past 18 games, left the Bulldogs at 3-2 on the young season.

The Aces (3-2), behind junior Kenneth Harris and sophomore Colt Ryan, rallied from a 10-point deficit in the second half.  Harris scored 12 of his team-high 17 points after the first half, while Ryan added 10 of his 14 points in the final period and overtime session.  It was Evansville's first victory over the Bulldogs in the last eight meetings and the Aces' first win at Hinkle Fieldhouse since 1994.

"There's no question about it, Evansville really, really played well," said Butler head coach Brad Stevens after the game.  "They've been playing good basketball.  I'm an admirer of how they played and how they're going about it.

"They beat us.  They just flat out beat us."

The Bulldogs, playing without injured starting point-guard Ronald Nored, were in control at halftime, 36-29, and had a 10-point lead, 41-31, early in the second half.  But the Aces mounted a comeback, out-scoring Butler 14-6 over a nine-minute stretch to take a 48-47 lead.

Evansville never trailed the rest of the way.

The Bulldogs, who didn't score a field goal in the final six minutes of regulation play, managed to stay within striking distance of the visitors at the free throw line and trailed by two points, 61-59, in the final minute.  The free throw line took center stage in the closing seconds.

Senior Zach Hahn was fouled with just eight seconds remaining.  He went to the line and calmly made the first.  His second attempt bounce high off the rim, but dropped through to tie the game.  Ryan missed a final attempt for Evansville, sending the game into overtime.

The Aces jumped in front in the extra period on back-to-back baskets by Harris and center Pieter van Tongeren.  But the Bulldogs battled back to tie the game at 67-67 on a rebound basket by senior Alex Anglin with 0:42 left in the overtime period.

That's when Holmes, who finished with 10 points, stepped up and drilled a three-point field goal to put his team in front for good.  Butler did have two chances to tie the game in the closing seconds.  The first came when guard Shelvin Mack was fouled on a three-point field goal attempt with seven seconds remaining.

The 6-3 junior made the first of his three free throws, but missed the second.  He then intentionally missed the third, but Harris grabbed the rebound and was fouled.  He made one of two charity tosses.  Mack then missed a final three-point field goal attempt to end the game.

Senior Matt Howard led the Bulldogs and posted his third consecutive double-double with  a game-high 19 points and 13 rebounds.  Mack, who scored his 1000th career point in the game, finished with 13 points, while Hahn added 11.

The road doesn't get easier for the Bulldogs.  Next up is a visit to unbeaten Loyola for the start of Horizon League play on Wednesday, Dec. 1, followed by a trip to New Jersey for a game against No. 1 Duke on Saturday, Dec. 4.