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No. 19/19 Butler Bulldogs Beat Creighton in Comeback Fashion

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – After a tough loss in the final seconds on Saturday, the #19/19 Butler Bulldogs found themselves on the winning side of the last second dramatics on Monday night, (Feb. 16) against the Creighton Bluejays at CenturyLink Center in a BIG EAST Conference battle. Junior guard Roosevelt Jones hit a driving layup to give Butler the lead with 0:01.9 seconds remaining as the Bulldogs advanced to 58-56 win on Presidents’ Day. It was the first Butler win in Omaha against Creighton in more than 80 years.

Photo: Butler Athletics/Roosevelt Jones (John Fetcho)
Photo: Butler Athletics/Roosevelt Jones (John Fetcho)

The game-winning shot capped a Butler comeback that saw the Bulldogs overcome a six-point deficit in the final three minutes. Led by Jones, Butler out-scored the host Bluejays, 10-2 down the stretch to claim the victory and improve to 19-7 on the season and 9-4 in the BIG EAST.

The final sequence for the Bulldogs started with 42 seconds remaining and the score tied at 56-56. Butler’s leading scorer, Kellen Dunham, attempted a short jump shot with 28 seconds left, but the shot bounced off the rim. Butler senior Alex Barlow, the smallest player on the floor, came up with the biggest rebound of the game to give the Bulldogs a new possession.

Butler then held the ball as the clock wound down and put it in the hands of Jones with just over ten seconds left. The 6-4 junior drove through a crowd on the right side of the free throw line and powered up a short shot that banked in with less than two seconds remaining. Creighton attempted a final halfcourt shot that came up short as the final buzzer sounded.

The final basket by Jones was reminiscent of the game-winning shot he hit at the buzzer against #8 Gonzaga two years ago. There was little doubt on what he planned on doing when he got the ball in the final seconds at Creighton.

“Coach called the play, and I knew I had to take the ball to the basket,” said Jones after the game. “We wanted to take the shot as late as possible, and I got a lane and got it up.”

“The play is called ‘Get it to Rose and get out of the way’,” quipped Butler Head Coach Chris Holtmann after the game.

Playing without starting sophomore center Andrew Chrabascz, who had surgery on his right hand on Monday, Butler faced an uphill climb in the closing minutes. Creighton (12-15, 3-11), spurred on by a sellout crowd of 17,971, matched its biggest lead of the second half at 54-48 on a basket by Devin Brooks with 3:13 left.

Dunham hit a jump shot to cut the lead to four points, 54-50, and then Barlow came up with a steal and a lay-up. He was fouled on the play and hit the free throw to make it 54-53 with 2:39 remaining.

The Bulldogs then took a two-point lead, 56-54, on a conventional three-point play by Jones, before Brooks tied the game for the final time.

“It’s probably as proud of a group as I’ve been given the tough loss on Saturday, obviously losing a teammate to injury and playing in a really hostile environment,” said Butler Head Coach Chris Holtmann after the game. I don’t know that I’ve been more proud of a group than this one.”

Butler grabbed an early lead in the game and led by as many as six points in the first seven minutes. But the Bluejays, coming off a victory at home over Marquette, out-scored Butler, 21-10, in the final 13 minutes to take a four-point halftime lead, 29-25.

The Bulldogs erased the deficit in the first two minutes of the second half, before Creighton regained control and held the lead for the majority of the final period.

Dunham led the Bulldogs with 19 points, while Jones finished with 18. Senior forward Kameron Woods recorded his seventh double-double of the season with 10 points and 10 rebounds.

Brooks and Austin Chatman paced the Bluejays with 17 points, apiece.

The victory was Butler’s first against Creighton in Omaha in more than 80 years. The last time the Bulldogs won on Creighton’s home floor was in February of 1934, 33-31.

Butler will be back on the road to end the week. The Bulldogs will visit Xavier on Saturday, Feb. 21, for a 2 p.m. (ET) contest at the Cintas Center.

Chris Fultz is a senior writer for the Indiana Sports Report and is recognized as an accredited member of the media by Butler Athletics and has full media access. Follow @CafultzISR and the @IndySportsRep on Twitter.

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