HUTCHINSON, Kan. — The Butler men had a three-game winning streak snapped with a 79-68 loss to No. 16 Hutchinson at the Sports Arena on Saturday.
Russell Smith and Ketarrious Bouchum each had a double-double in the loss for Butler (11-13 overall, 8-13 conference). Smith scored 14 of his team-high 17 points in the second half and added 10 rebounds, while Bouchum finished with 12 points and 12 boards.
Hutchinson (21-4, 17-4) had the upper hand early by scoring the first eight points of the contest. After Armstrong made a trey to get Butler on the board at the 17:22 mark of the half, the Blue Dragons added six more points to take a 14-3 lead.
The Grizzlies climbed back into the contest with an 11-2 run, as Smith drained a three-pointer to get Butler within two, 16-14.
Butler kept pace with Hutchinson and finally took its first lead at 23-22 on a Bouchum lay-in with 6:05 before the break. After both teams exchanged three-pointers, the Blue Dragons made a 10-0 run behind a pair of treys from Devonte Bandoo.
Hutchinson would take a 42-32 lead into the locker room behind an even 50 percent shooting from the field (15-of-30) and beyond the arc (5-of-10).
In the second half, Smith keyed an 8-0 Grizzly run as he scored on a pair of consecutive putbacks and added two free throws. Bouchum added a field goal at the 13:33 mark to get the deficit down to 46-42.
For the next five minutes, Butler stayed pace with Hutchinson, but a 7-0 Dragon run moved the margin back into double digits at 63-51 with 5:51 remaining. The Grizzlies failed to recover, only getting the deficit under 10 points just twice in the final five minutes.
Hutch had five players score in double figures, with Bandoo leading the way with 17 points. In addition to Smith and Bouchum, Jared Armstrong scored 16 points for Butler, while Karlon McSpadden finished with 10 and hit a perfect 8-of-8 from the foul line.
The Dragons hit 45.3 percent (24-of-53) from the field, while Butler made just 33.8 percent (23-of-68). Butler outscored Hutch 18-9 to second-chance points, but the Dragons had better success getting to the free-throw line, where they made 76.5 percent (26-of-34). Butler had 13 less attempts, but hit 81 percent (17-of-21).
Next up for Butler will be a road contest Wednesday at Cloud County. Tipoff from Concordia is at 8:00 p.m.