No. 19 Butler Falls To Wright State, 60-55, In Horizon League Title Game
March 6, 2007
FAIRBORN, Ohio (AP) - DaShaun Wood scored 27 points and Will Graham hit four free throws in the last 12 seconds to lead Wright State past No. 19 Butler 60-55 Tuesday night for the Horizon League postseason title and its second trip to the NCAA tournament.
Butler still holds out hope of receiving an at-large bid to its seventh trip to the NCAA tournament.
The Bulldogs have lost six of their last seven games at Wright State's Nutter Center - ending a five-game skid with Saturday night's 67-66 overtime win over Loyola of Chicago.
Wood helped turn the tide after Butler (27-6) had scrambled back from an eight-point deficit to take the lead in the final minutes.
With the score tied at 52-52 and 1:25 left, Butler's A.J. Graves drove to the basket but Wood blocked the shot from behind. Then at the other end, Wood curled off a pick and hit a 3-pointer from the right wing with 1:06 left for a 55-52 lead for Wright State (23-9).
Brandon Crone, who led the Bulldogs with 18 points, scored inside off the inbounds pass to cut the lead to a point as hundreds of Wright State students crammed around the floor in expectation of a celebration.
Freshman Vaughn Duggins was fouled and hit one shot in the double bonus to make it 56-54 with 31 seconds remaining.
Crone made the second of two foul shots with 11.6 seconds left to again narrow the gap to one point.
Before the ball could be inbounded, Graham was fouled. A 66-percent free-throw shooter, he made them both for a 58-55 lead.
Graves then rushed the ball up the court but missed a 3-pointer while trying to draw a foul with 4.5 seconds left.
Graham again was fouled with 1.3 seconds left and poured in two more to clinch the win, touching off a wild rush to the floor by hundreds of students.
Wood was the spark on this night for the Raiders, who got off to an abysmal start against the team they shared the regular-season title with but ended up winning for the 11th time in their last 12 games.
Two fans dressed like the Wright Brothers, who were from just a short distance away in Dayton, held up a sign that said, "Win One for Orville and Wilbur!"
Even though the teams shared the title, Wright State won the top seed - and the right to host the tournament - by virtue of a tiebreaker. Butler won at home 73-42 on Jan. 6 but lost at Wright State 77-65 late in the season while the Raiders were in the midst of a nine-game winning streak.
The Bulldogs hit their first four shots from the field - including a sweeping reverse layup and a 3-pointer by Betko - to take a quick 10-0 lead in the opening 3:12.
Ahead 35-34 early in the second half, the Raiders stretched the lead to 40-34 when Scottie Wilson hit a 3 from the right corner and Drew Burleson powered in a half-hook.
After a Butler free throw, Burleson then tossed in a 3 from the left wing for a 43-35 lead.
Butler scratched back to tie it at 43-43 with just over 7 minutes left, Crone hitting a pair of 3s sandwiched around a layup by Mike Green.
Graves added 12 points for the Bulldogs.
Burleson scored 15 points and Wilson had 10 for Wright State, which has won a national championship in basketball - the 1983 Division II crown.
Raiders only previous trip to the NCAA tournament in the 20 years in Division I came in 1993, when they were pounded 97-54 by Indiana in the first round after capturing the Mid-Continent Conference tournament title.