INDIANAPOLIS, IN – The #18/19 Butler Bulldogs, looking for their second BIG EAST Conference win of the season, were unable to take down the #11/13 Villanova Wildcats on Sunday night at Hinkle Fieldhouse. Redshirt senior G/F Roosevelt Jones scored a team high 20 points and nearly spearheaded a come-from-behind win, but the Bulldogs fell, 60-55. Villanova improves to 14-2 overall and 4-0 in BIG EAST play. Butler falls to 12-4 and 1-3 in conference with all three of its losses coming against teams ranked in the Top 12 at the time.
Butler took a 27-21 lead into the half and led 31-24 on a three-pointer from senior G Kellen Dunham just 87 seconds into the second half. That is when Villanova went on a 14-0 run to take a 38-31 lead with 13:27 remaining. On three occasions, Butler would trim the lead to a single point, but never re-took the lead.
Down 58-55 after two Jones free throws with 53 seconds to play, sophomore F Tyler Wideman came up with an emphatic block on a Wildcat shot which set up Butler’s final attempt to tie as Jones found graduate transfer G Jordan Gathers in the corner for a three-point attempt. It didn’t fall and Villanova collected the rebound and hit two free throws to ice the game.
“Nova made enough plays tonight and played with a lot of poise,” said Butler Head Coach Chris Holtmann. “They took the lead early in the second half and we didn’t respond like we needed to at that moment. But, we rallied and had a chance to tie, which I think is a testament to this team.”
Jones scored Butler’s final 10 points on the night, trimming a nine-point advantage with 3:23 to play to get the tying look.
Josh Hart led Villanova with 22 points and 11 rebounds. The visitors held a 39-31 edge on the glass, while neither team shot better than 42 percent. Villanova finished 41.5% (22-53) from the field and 4-15 (26.7%) from three in the game. Butler shot 19-53 (35.8%) from the field and only 3-15 (20.0%) from deep. The Bulldogs forced 13 Villanova turnovers and scored 11 points of those mistakes while surrendering 12 points off of eight of their own turnovers.
Dunham added 13, including two makes from deep. Sophomore F Tyler Wideman scored 10. Junior F Andrew Chrabascz managed only five points in 30 minutes on a 1-8 shooting night, including 0-4 from three. Sophomore G Kelan Martin managed only two points in 19 minutes off the Butler bench, shooting 1-8 from the field.
The Bulldogs return to action Saturday with a noon tip against St. John’s. The game can be seen on FS1.
Chris Fultzis asenior writerfor the Indiana Sports Report and is recognized as an accredited member of the media by Butler Athletics and has full media access. Follow @CafultzISRand the @IndySportsRep on Twitter
Chris Fultz is a Senior Writer and the Butler Athletics beat writer for the Indiana Sports Report. Chris Fultz is recognized as an accredited member of the media by Butler University Athletics and has full media access.
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