Butler beats Hutch in top-10 showdown to stay unbeaten

Butler beats Hutch in top-10 showdown to stay unbeaten

HUTCHINSON, Kan. - The Butler men outlasted Hutchinson on the road to win a top-10 showdown and stay undefeated, winning 72-62 at the Sports Arena. 

The Grizzlies, ranked fourth nationally, led by as many as 19 points in the second half, but had to hold on at the end as the sixth-ranked Blue Dragons got within five points late.

With the win, Butler is now 16-0 on the season, tying the 1996-97 team that also started the season with 16 straight wins before losing a game at Barton.

The game started slowly on the offensive end, as Butler needed more than three minutes to score its first points. The two teams switched leads until Derrick Byrd scores on a reverse layup to tie the game 10-10. Moments later, Kyle Steward hit a 3-pointer with 8:26 to go and Butler led 13-10. The Grizzlies would not trail again.

Butler would push the lead to double digits late in the half when Travis House hit a 3-pointer in the final minute to make it 32-20. With three seconds left in the period, Lamar Wofford got an offensive rebound and tip-in to put the Grizzlies up 14 at the break. 

The 20 points Hutchinson scored in the first half is its season low.

Butler got the first five points of the second half, all from Robert Joiner on a 3-pointer and a pair of free throws, and led 39-20 with 17:50 to go.  

The Grizzlies would hold a double-digit lead for most of the second half, but Hutchinson surged late, getting as close as six points at 68-62 with 40 seconds to play, but Kyle Steward got free for a breakaway dunk effectively sealed the game.

Butler was 7-of-8 at the free throw line in the final two minutes and 23-of-27 at the line for the game (85 percent).

Kyle Steward led Butler with 19 points while Lamar Wofford had a double-double with 16 points and 13 rebounds. It is his fourth double-double of the year.

Butler will have a chance at its best start in the modern era with a win on Saturday, but the Grizzlies will face a Barton team that is 14-2 overall and 2-0 in conference play with wins over Dodge City and Garden City. Tipoff is 4 p.m. at the Power Plant.