Bulldogs Heading To Sweet 16

Bulldogs Heading To Sweet 16

WASHINGTON, DC - Matt Howard made one free throw with 0.8 seconds left to cap a wild final sequence that enabled No. 8 seed Butler (25-9) to advance to the round of 16 and deal Pittsburgh a painful exit from the NCAAs.

Each team had a chance to win it from the foul line in the last 2 seconds. After Butler's Shelvin Mack fouled Gilbert Brown near midcourt with 1.4 seconds left, Brown made the first try to tie it.

He missed the second, and Howard was fouled by Robinson while grabbing the rebound -- a foul even more unnecessary than the one that preceded it.

"I've been playing basketball my whole life and I know I shouldn't have done that. It was a stupid play," Robinson said. "It wasn't the ref's fault. It was my fault." 

When Howard grabbed the rebound of Brown's miss, it appeared the game would be going to overtime because the Bulldogs were out of timeouts. Then Robinson stuck his arm into the fray.

"I was really surprised," Howard said. "I felt his arm come across mine, so I just threw the ball to the rim."

Howard made the first shot, then intentionally banged the second attempt off the rim.

And soon after that, Butler was rejoicing at midcourt.

Mack scored 30 points for the Bulldogs (25-9), who used a string of upsets to reach the championship game last year. Butler has won 11 straight overall and is 7-1 in its last eight NCAA tournament games.

The 30 points was two short of Mack's career high and a Butler tournament record. He went 10 for 16, including 7 of 12 from 3-point range.

The Bulldogs will next face Wisconsin in the Southeast regional semifinal. No matter what happens, it will almost certainly be tame compared to what Butler went through in Washington.

"You win two games by three points, it's going to be pretty crazy," Howard said

In their tournament opener, the Bulldogs used a tip-in by Howard to beat Old Dominion at the buzzer. Then came this one, in which Butler saw a 12-point lead evaporate and had to rally from a five-point deficit over the final 10:37.

"We're not better than Old Dominion. We're not better than Pittsburgh," Butler coach Brad Stevens said. "We just had the ball last."

Pittsburgh (28-6) was seeking to reach the round of 16 for the sixth time in 10 years. Instead, the Panthers became just another victim of Butler magic.

With the win over the Southeast's top seed, BU became the third team in NCAA tournament history to defeat a No. 1 seed before the Final Four in consecutive years. The Bulldogs beat Syracuse in the Sweet 16 last year and Pitt on Saturday in the round of 32.

Howard finished with 16 points and six rebounds. Butler made 12 3-pointers, off-setting Pittsburgh's 56 percent shooting.