March 19, 2012

Butler Beats Penn In CBI Quarterfinals

PHILADELPHIA, PA. -- Sophomore Chrishawn Hopkins scored a game-high 15 points and sophomore Khyle Marshall added his third double-double of the season to lead Butler to a 63-53 victory over host Penn in the quarterfinals of the College Basketball Invitational presented by Zebra Pen.  The win sends the Bulldogs into a semifinals game at home against Pittsburgh.

The Bulldogs, who improved to 22-14 on the year, will host Pitt at Hinkle Fieldhouse at 8 p.m. (ET) on Wednesday, March 21.  The game will be a rematch of last year's NCAA Men's Basketball Championship third round contest, which Butler won, 71-70.

Hopkins (below) led the Bulldogs in scoring for the third straight game.  He tallied seven points in the first half to help the Bulldogs to a 20-17 halftime lead and then added eight more in the final 20 minutes when Butler stretched its margin.  The 6-1 guard also added a career-high eight rebounds, helping the Bulldogs to a commanding 44-28 rebounding advantage.

Marshall scored 14 points, all in the second half, and grabbed 13 rebounds.  He had four of Butler's 18 offensive rebounds in the game, and the Bulldogs out-scored Penn, 18-6, in second chance points.

The Bulldogs, playing in front of 3,864 fans at the historic Palestra, started slowly, scoring just five points and trailing 8-5 five-and-half minutes into the game.  Butler kept the host Quakers in check behind a strong defensive effort, but 10 first half turnovers kept the Bulldogs from building more than a five-point lead.

"It looked like we were trying to wear them out by giving them the ball over and over and over again.  We just turned it over way to much," said Butler head coach Brad Stevens after the game.  "We settled down and made some shots at the rim.  Those shots allowed us to feel better about ourselves and then we played better.  I thought we guarded both halves, but we finished at the rim much better in the second half.

Penn (20-13) quickly tied the game at 21-21 in the second half and the two teams traded leads throughout the first eight minutes of the final period.  Sophomore Erik Fromm hit a lay-up to break a 31-31 tie and give the Bulldogs the lead for good.

Butler took its first double-digit lead at 56-46 on a free throw by senior Ronald Nored with just over a minute remaining.  Nored scored nine of Butler's final 11 points, including seven from the free throw line.

Freshman Roosevelt Jones, who scored nine points in the final period, matched Nored with 12 points for the game.  Nored led the Bulldogs with six assists, while turning in a strong defensive performance on Penn scoring leader Zack Rosen.  The Butler co-captain helped limit Rosen to just 11 points on three of 10 shooting.

Guard Miles Cartwright led the Quakers with 12 points.

Butler's 22 wins this season matches the 12th-highest single season total in school history.  

(Photos by John Fetcho)