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Gonzaga vs Butler

No. 13 Butler shocks Gonzaga with buzzer-beater

CBSSports.com wire reports
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INDIANAPOLIS -- All Roosevelt Jones wanted to do Saturday night was make a play.

He wound up stealing the ball and a victory.

The sophomore forward looped around Gonzaga's 7-foot center, stole an overthrown inbounds pass with 3.5 seconds left, took a peek at the clock and drove from midcourt into the lane for a buzzer-beating floater that gave No. 13 Butler a 64-63 victory over No. 8 Gonzaga.

It was just one more play in Butler's ever-expanding guide on how to make the improbable victories possible.

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"These guys make you believe," coach Brad Stevens said. "The way they play the game, how hard they play the game, they just make you believe."

Why not, given what Butler (16-2, 3-0 Atlantic 10) already has achieved this season.

The Bulldogs have won 13 straight games, including the last two without their leading scorer, Rotnei Clarke. With a win over No. 9 North Carolina in November, a win over No. 1 Indiana in December and now over No. 8 Gonzaga in January, Butler has beaten three top 10 teams in one season for the first time.

The latest came on a night when the power conferences ceded center stage to the two biggest little schools in college basketball.

And, of course, it came in the same Hinkle Fieldhouse where Oscar Robertson won two state titles and led his school to the first undefeated season in Indiana high school basketball, where Bobby Plump delivered the winner in Milan's miraculous 1954 state title run that later became the plot for the movie "Hoosiers," and in a venue that had never before hosted a game between two top 15 college teams.

This game had all the trimmings, from Plump's return to the court to a rare game-ending rushing of the floor by Butler's students. Much to Jones' surprise, he was the reason for the postgame celebration.

"I never did it in my life," Jones said when asked about the last time he hit a buzzer-beating shot.

The 6-foot-4 sophomore finished with 20 points, five rebounds and four assists. And after Alex Barlow, who hit the winning shot to upset the Hoosiers, was called for traveling with 3.5 seconds left, Jones made the perfect read when Gonzaga point guard David Stockton, the son of NBA Hall of Famer John Stockton, threw the inbounds pass over the head of 7-foot center Kelly Olynyk.

Jones, expecting a lob, played it like an NFL cornerback and moved behind Olynyk. That put Jones in better position to catch the ball than the Gonzaga center.

Then, with fans in the sold-out arena rising and their arms flailing, Jones raced into the lane where he threw up a mid-range shot that went through the net and set off another wild celebration.

Gonzaga (17-2, 4-0 West Coast Conference) didn't even bother to stick around for the replay review. The Zags knew it was good.

"He's just really, really tough. He's aggressive and he's confident and that's a heck of a shot," Gonzaga coach Mark Few said after watching an eight-game winning streak end. "I've never consistently seen anyone make so many floaters from 10 to 12 feet."

Butler got 14 points from freshman Kellen Dunham and eight from Khyle Marshall.

The Zags were led by Elias Harris and Sam Dower, who each scored 20. Olynyk, the West Coast Conference's top scorer, finished with 14 points and seven rebounds despite spending most of the second half in foul trouble.

The numbers paled in comparison to what happened in what was being billed as the best non-power conference game of the season.

Organizers did it up right.

In the morning, Plump missed both of the shots he took from the same spot in the same gym where he made the winning shot in the 1954 Indiana high school state tourney.

Some fans rekindled memories of past eras by wearing jerseys bearing the names of former Butler players such as Matt Howard and Duane Lightfoot. Every seat was filled 10 minutes before tip-off, and the students who were standing in line more than 2 1/2 hours before the game's scheduled start time literally ran into the fieldhouse to find a precious seat behind one of the baskets.

What they really wanted to see was Clarke in his game-day attire instead of street clothes as he battles back from a severely sprained neck.

The consolation prize wasn't bad: An instant classic.

Butler trailed 33-32 at halftime but came out of the locker room and scored the first five points to take the lead. The Bulldogs didn't trail again until Harris' layup made it 59-58 with 1:26 left.

Jones answered 19 seconds later with his own layup to give the Bulldogs the lead, starting a sequence of four straight lead changes.

When Olynyk made two free throws to give the Zags a 63-62 lead and Barlow turned the ball over, it looked as though that would be the last lead change of the night.

But Jones responded by stealing the ball and the game.

"I just made a basketball play," he said. "I heard the coach say lob and I just made a basketball play."

Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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The fans at Hinkle Fieldhouse go wild after Butler's improbable, memorable win over No. 8 Gonzaga.  (US Presswire)
The fans at Hinkle Fieldhouse go wild after Butler's improbable, memorable win over No. 8 Gonzaga. (US Presswire)
Scoreboard
Gonzaga #8 (17-2)333063
Butler #13 (16-2) «323264
GONZAG:S. Dower 20 Pts
GONZAG:E. Harris 7 Reb
GONZAG:K. Pangos 6 Ast
BUTLER:R. Jones 20 Pts
BUTLER:A. Smith 7 Reb
BUTLER:A. Barlow 6 Ast
 
PLAYERS OF THE GAME
GonzagaButler
GONZAG
Elias Harris
BUTLER
Roosevelt Jones
PtsRebsAstPtsRebsAst
20702054
Gonzaga Bulldogs
K. Pangos, G372-50-02635
G. Bell Jr., G330-10-01200
K. Olynyk, F275-124-572414
E. Harris, F228-144-570420
M. Hart, G150-00-13040
S. Dower, C248-112-210020
D. Stockton, G131-20-00323
G. Landry Edi, F90-11-20101
D. Barham, G80-20-00000
P. Karnowski, C60-10-02010
K. Dranginis, G40-20-01010
G. Coleman, GDid Not Play
R. Bakamus, GDid Not Play
Totals 24-5111-1524141963
 47.1%73.3% 
Butler Bulldogs
K. Dunham, G364-92-321114
A. Smith, C333-50-27047
A. Barlow, G332-40-04625
R. Jones, F327-106-1054220
K. Marshall, F213-92-41018
C. Stigall, G172-31-23207
E. Fromm, F130-11-23131
K. Woods, F121-20-00032
A. Smeathers, G-F30-10-00000
R. Clarke, GDid Not Play
E. Kampen, CDid Not Play
J. Aldridge, GDid Not Play
E. Kampen, GDid Not Play
D. Morgan, GDid Not Play
Totals 22-4412-2325141664
 50.0%52.2% 
West Coast
TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
Gonzaga0-05-07
St. Marys0-04-020
Portland0-03-0265
Pepperdine0-03-1212
BYU0-04-226
Loyola-Mary.0-03-2246
Pacific0-03-2205
San Diego0-03-299
San Fran.0-03-242
Santa Clara0-02-3218

Big East
TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
Creighton0-05-0168
Providence0-05-057
Villanova0-05-064
Xavier0-05-085
Seton Hall0-04-02
St. Johns0-04-0119
Georgetown0-04-152
Butler0-03-145
DePaul0-02-1308
Marquette0-03-2174
 
Other games
MIZZ 52 Final
FLA 83
KAN 64 Final
UT 59
ARIZ 71 Final
AZST 54
OKLA 60 Final
KSU 69
SYR 70 Final
LOU 68
ORE 76 Final
UCLA 67
CREI 64 Final
WICH 67
OHST 56 Final
MIST 59
VCU 90 Final
DUQ 63
MU 69 Final
CIN 71
SDSU 45 Final
WYO 58
RUT 66 Final
ND 69