December 3, 2011

Valparaiso Bumps Bulldogs In Overtime

INDIANAPOLIS, IND. -- Visiting Valparaiso made every shot it attempted from the floor in the final five minutes and slipped past Butler, 77-71 in overtime, at Hinkle Fieldhouse on Saturday, Dec. 3.  It was the Horizon League opener for both teams.

The Crusaders (6-2, 1-0 HL) hit four of four shots from the field in the five-minute extra period.  Butler (4-4, 0-1) managed to convert just one of seven field goal attempts in overtime.  Both teams cashed five free throws.

"I thought Valpo did a really, really good job throughout the course of the game of just playing the next play, regardless of how it was going," said Butler head coach Brad Stevens.  "They did a better job than we did and ultimately ended up winning the game."

The Bulldogs overcame a five-point deficit in the final five minutes of regulation play and eventually tied the game at 64-64 on the first of two free throws by senior Ronald Nored with 20 seconds remaining.  And Butler had a final chance for the win, when freshman Roosevelt Jones rebounded Nored's miss on the second attempt.

But Valparaiso's Erik Buggs came up with a steal on Nored's drive to the basket with five seconds remaining, sending the game into overtime.

Jones gave Butler the lead, 66-64, with a basket 30 seconds into the overtime period, but Valparaiso answered with four straight points to take the lead for good.

Butler wound up shooting just 34% (24-70) for the game, while Valparaiso connected at a 53% (27-51) clip.  Included in Butler's shooting total were 10 missed lay-ups.

"The lay-ups are really disappointing," said Stevens.  

"The difference in the game is they finished and we didn't," added the Butler coach.

Nored, Butler's leader in assists and steals on the season, took on the additional role of scoring leader against the Crusaders.  He finished with a career-high 17 points, including 10 after halftime.  It was the first time he led the Bulldogs in scoring since Butler's victory over Murray State in the 2010 NCAA Tournament.

"I think the bottom line is he tries to do whatever it takes to be successful," noted Stevens.

Jones and freshman Kameron Woods (left) each added 10 points for the Bulldogs.  Woods posted his second consecutive double-double with a team-high 11 rebounds.  Butler had a 45-36 rebounding edge for the game, including a 22-6 advantage on the offensive boards.

Transfer Richie Edwards came off the bench to lead five Valparaiso players in double-figures with 18 points.

Butler won't have much time to reflect on the league-opener.  Unbeaten Xavier, ranked No. 11 in the nation, will visit Hinkle Fieldhouse for a 9 p.m. (ET) game on Wednesday, Dec. 7.