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No. 23/25 Butler Bulldogs Drop Game to Indiana

INDIANAPOLIS, IN. – The No. 23/25 Butler Bulldogs, looking to stay undefeated in the Crossroads Classic, picked up their third loss of the season in a game against the Indiana Hoosiers. Indiana used a 10-0 run late in the game to break open a close contest and claim an 82-73 victory over Butler in the first game of the 2014 Crossroads Classic at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Saturday (Dec. 20). It was Butler’s first loss in the event in the four years that the four-team event has been held in Indianapolis.

The Hoosiers (9-2), leading 66-65 with six minutes remaining, took advantage of three Butler turnovers to spark their decisive run. Nick Zeisloft started the Indiana run with a three-point field goal following a Butler turnover, and then the Hoosiers turned another Butler miscue into a lay-up by Troy Williams. Another Butler turnover and Williams lay-up put the Hoosiers on top 73-65, before Indiana’s Yogi Ferrell capped the run with a three-point field to make it 76-65 with just over three minutes left.

Butler never got closer than five points the rest of the way.

“You have to give Indiana credit. They had a stretch there in the second half where they were able to get it away from a one-possession game,” said Butler coach Chris Holtmann after the game. “We stalled out offensively, and they were able to score in that stretch.”

The decisive stretch turned a game that saw the score tied eight times and nine lead changes. Butler led by as many as six points in the second half, while the 11-point margin with three minutes left was Indiana’s biggest advantage.

Photo: Butler Athletics/Kellen Dunham (John Fetcho)
Photo: Butler Athletics/Kellen Dunham (John Fetcho)

The Hoosiers used a similar spurt late in the first half to grab a 10-point lead, 35-25, but the Bulldogs battled back in the final three minutes of the opening period to tie the score, 38-38, at halftime.

Butler (8-3) took the lead early in the second half on a free throw by senior forward Kameron Woods and eventually stretched the lead to 53-47 on a dunk by Woods with just under 14 minutes left in the game. The two teams were never separated by more than two possessions from that point until the final six minutes.

The Bulldogs shot just 39.1% for the game, including just 36.8% in the second half, and were out-rebounded, 48-40. The Hoosiers shot a hot 47.1% (8-17) from three while the Bulldogs shot a woeful 18.8% (3-16) from deep. The 82 points Indiana scored were the most allowed by Butler this season.

“We did have a couple of looks right around the basket that if a couple of those go down, it’s probably a different story or at least a one possession game,” added Holtmann. “We had some lay-ups right around the rim that we need to finish through contact a little bit better.”

Junior guard Kellen Dunham led the Bulldogs with a game high 23 points. He scored 18 points in the first half, but managed just five points after intermission. Jones added 11 points and eight rebounds, while Woods had his fourth double-double of the season with 10 points and a game-high 12 rebounds.

Williams led Indiana with 22 points, while Ferrell added 20, all in the second half.

Butler will be back in action at Hinkle Fieldhouse against UT-Martin on Monday, Dec. 22. The final pre-Christmas game is slated for 7 p.m. (ET).

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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