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Butler Finishes Fourth in Old Spice Classic

Chris Fultz
ISR Butler Beat Writer

ORLANDO, FLA– The Butler Bulldogs finished with a 1-2 overall record in the Old Spice Classic after beating Washington State in the first round and back-to-back losses against #5 Oklahoma State and LSU. Butler Sophomore G Kellen Dunham set a new tournament scoring record and Senior F Khyle Marshall tied the old tournament mark to lead Butler to a 76-69 victory over Washington State in the first round of the Old Spice Classic on Thanksgiving Day.

Kellen Dunham (Photo by John Fetcho)
Kellen Dunham (Photo by John Fetcho)

Dunham scored a career-high 32 points to break the previous Old Spice record of 30 points, held by three players including former Kansas State star Michael Beasley. He scored 24 points after intermission, including a three-point field goal with two minutes remaining to give Butler the lead for good, 68-67. The 6-6 guard scored 11 of Butler’s final 14 points in the win.

Marshall was just as impressive with a career-high 30 points. He hit 12 of 18 shots in the game, including seven of eight in the second half. The contest at HP Field House at the ESPN Wild World of Sports Complex was his first collegiate game in his home state of Florida.

The Washington State Cougars wound up shooting 50% (25-50) for the game, and out-rebounded Butler, 33-27.  The Bulldogs committed just six turnovers in the game and finished with a 21-6 advantage in points off turnovers.

The Bulldogs then played #5 Oklahoma State in the semifinals of the Old Spice Classic on Friday (Nov. 29). Butler took one of the best teams in the nation right to the wire, but missed on a couple of opportunities down the stretch and wound up falling to the Cowboys, 69-67.

The Bulldogs battled back from a 14 point deficit and had multiple chances to take the lead in the closing minutes. Butler, led by Freshman G Elijah Brown and Junior G Alex Barlow, rallied in the second half. Brown scored 10 of his team-high 15 points after intermission, while Barlow had eight of his career-high 12 points in the final period.

Butler chipped away at the Oklahoma State lead and eventually cut it to one point, 68-67, on a lay-up by senior Khyle Marshall with just over two minutes remaining. The Bulldogs had a chance to take the lead with just over a minute remaining, but a three-point field goal attempt by Barlow bounced off the rim.

The Bulldogs still trailed by one when Marshall was fouled with nine seconds remaining, but the Butler forward, who scored a career-high 30 points one day earlier, missed both of his attempts. Oklahoma State’s Le’Bryan Nash made one of two free throws with six seconds left, setting the stage for Brown’s final attempt. Michael Cobbins blocked a three-point field goal attempt by Brown at the buzzer to preserve the two-point win for Oklahoma State.

The Cowboys were led by Player of the Year candidate Marcus Smart with 17 points, eight rebounds, three assists and two steals, while Nash added 15. Oklahoma State had won its first six games this season by an average of 33.2 points, beating each of its first six foes by double-figures.
Brown and Barlow were joined in double-figures by Junior F Kameron Woods, who finished with 12 points and a team-high nine rebounds. Kellen Dunham, who set a tournament record with 32 points one day earlier, wound up with nine points, while Marshall had eight.

The Bulldogs played for third place in the tournament on Sunday, Dec. 1 against the LSU Tigers. LSU came from behind to tie the game at the end of regulation and then took control in overtime to hand Butler a 70-68 setback in the third place game at the Old Spice Classic. It was Butler’s second straight two-point loss in the tournament.

Butler (5-2), coming off a 69-67 loss to #5 Oklahoma State, jumped to a 7-0 lead in the game and led by eight, 12-4, less than six minutes into the contest. But the Tigers battled back and cut the margin to a single point, 27-26, at halftime.

The Bulldogs remained in front for most of the second half, leading by as many as seven points, 53-46, with six-and-a-half minutes remaining. LSU eventually tied the game for the eighth time at 56-56 with just over two minutes remaining.

Barlow nailed his third three-point field goal of the game with 1:22 remaining to put Butler on top by three points, 59-56. After LSU trimmed the margin to one with 0:18 left, Senior F Erik Fromm calmly hit two free throws to extend Butler’s lead to three, 61-58, with just 12 seconds remaining. Guard Anthony Hickey, scoreless for nearly 40 minutes, hit a three-point field goal with just over four seconds remaining to tie the game at 61-61, and the game went into an extra period when Butler’s Alex Barlow missed a desperate three-point attempt at the final buzzer.

The Tigers (5-2) took the lead for good in the overtime period at 67-65 on a jump shot by Andre Stringer. Butler’s Khyle Marshall did cut the lead to one, 67-66, with a free throw, but forward Johnny O’Bryant III scored three straight points to give LSU their biggest lead of the game.

The Bulldogs finished with four players in double-figures, led by Sophomore Kellen Dunham with a game-high 20 points. Marshall added 17, junior Kameron Woods had 12 and Fromm finished with 10. O’Bryant led LSU with 17.

Woods and Barlow led Butler to a commanding 48-36 rebounding advantage in the contest. Woods led the way with 11 rebounds, posting his third double-double of the season. Barlow added a career-high 10 rebounds, as well as team-highs of four assists and two steals.

Butler will return to Indianapolis for back-to-back home games against North Dakota and Manchester. The Bulldogs will host North Dakota on Saturday, Dec. 7, at 6 p.m., and Manchester on Monday, Dec. 9, at 8 p.m.

Chris Fultz is the Butler beat writer for the Indy Sports Report. Follow Chris and the Indy Sports Report on Twitter.

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