EL DORADO, Kan. – The Butler men maintained their two-game lead in the conference standings and completed a regular-season sweep of arch-rival Hutchinson with a thrilling 76-71 overtime victory over the Blue Dragons in a matchup of top-20 teams at the Power Plant on Saturday.
The sixth-ranked Grizzlies overcame a 65-60 deficit in the final two minute of regulation to force overtime and then outscored #17 Hutchinson 8-1 in the final three minutes of the extra period to earn the win.
Butler is now 23-1 overall and is 9-1 in the Jayhawk West, staying two games ahead of second-place Barton, which is 8-3. The Grizzlies will be on the road at Barton on Monday, the second of four games in a span of seven days. Hutchinson, now 20-5 overall, saw its six-game winning streak snapped. With the loss, the Blue Dragons fall into third place in the conference at 7-4.
The game was closely contested throughout, with Hutchinson leading 8-5 early on. Butler's first lead came at 10-8 after a Caelan Neal 3-pointer with 11:01 left in the half. The two teams would trade leads throughout the rest of the period and went into the locker room tied 28-28 at the half.
Butler scored the first five points of the second half to lead 33-28. The two teams would again exchange the lead several times, with Butler up 52-51 after Chris Howell made a free throws with 7:28 to play.
Hutchinson would score seven straight points to take a 58-52 lead, and still led by six at 63-57 after a 3-pointer by Akbar Hoffman with 3:12 to go.
Butler still trailed 65-60 before Jacolby Harris made a bucket and a free throw with 1:48 to go to get within two.
After a Hutchinson free throw, Lamar Wofford scored on the other end and was fouled. His free throw with 43.7 seconds to go tied the game 66-66.
Butler blocked a shot on defense and missed two shots in the final seconds to send the game to overtime. Butler scored first in the extra period, but then fell behind 70-68.
Chris Howell led Butler with 18 points and 13 rebounds, his second double-double of the season. Jacolby Harris had 16 points, 15 of them coming in the second half and overtime. Kyle Steward scored 15 points. Akbar Hoffman had 19 points to lead four Hutchinson players in double figures.