Butler Shuts Down Blue Hens, 75-58, To Post First Round Victory in CBI Presented by Zebra Pen
March 14, 2012
Photo Courtesy of John Fetcho
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- The Butler University men’s basketball team used an early second half run to pull away for a 75-58 victory over the University of Delaware in the first round of the 2012 College Basketball Invitational presented by Zebra Pen Wednesday night at Hinkle Fieldhouse.
The Bulldogs, who advanced to the NCAA Tournament final during each of the last two years, improve to 21-14 and will travel to Penn on Monday during the CBI presented by Zebra Pen quarterfinals. The Blue Hens, participating in their sixth postseason game in school history and their first since 2000, end their season at 18-14. Delaware concludes its year with a winning record for the first time since 2003-04, while its 18 wins is the program’s most since 2000-01.
Chrishawn Hopkins finished with a game-high 19 points for the Bulldogs, all but two in the second half, while Butler’s leading scorer Andrew Smith added 17 points and a game-high seven rebounds. Ronald Nored chipped in with 12 points, while Chase Stigall was the fourth Bulldog in double figures with 10 points on the strength of three triples.
Blue Hen freshman Jarvis Threatt (at right) scored a career-high 31 points for Delaware, finishing 10 of 14 from the field and 9 of 13 from the free throw line to go with four rebounds and four steals. Threatt, who reached double figures for the eighth consecutive contest, now has the top three highest scoring games by a freshman in UD history.
Sophomore Devon Saddler finished with 10 points, but was just 2 of 7 from the field and committed 10 turnovers. However Saddler did manage to go over the 600-point mark for the season, just the third player in Blue Hen history to surpass that milestone. Josh Brinkley contributed seven points for Delaware while Jamelle Hagins has six points, five rebounds and four blocked shots. Hagins, already the school’s all-time leader with 212 swats, finishes his year with 95 blocks, the third highest single season mark in Blue Hen history.
Butler, making its seventh consecutive postseason tournament appearance and its 14th in the last 16 years, entered the game shooting just 28 percent from three-point range but connected on 8 of 19 shots from behind the arc. The Bulldogs also held a commanding 37-25 rebounding advantage, and grabbed 17 key offensive boards.
The Blue Hens shot 47.5 percent to Butler’s 41.0 percent for the game, but hurt themselves by hitting just 2 of 9 three-point attempts and going only 18 of 31 from the foul line.
“We got off to a horrendous start offensively and wanted to make a run during the first four minutes of the second half, but instead their lead went from eight to 15,” said Delaware head coach Monté Ross, who completes his sixth season leading the Blue Hens. “I’m proud of my guys for not quitting and cutting it to nine, but we just couldn’t get over the hump. Butler has a great club, and Brad (Stevens) does an outstanding job.”
“They’re a tough defensive team, and they did a good job tracking Kyle (Anderson) and didn’t allow Devon (Saddler) many good looks. Jarvis (Threatt) has the ability to pressure the defense, especially in the open court. He’s a tremendous talent who’s just going to keep getting better.”
Neither team could get much going offensively during the first 12 minutes, and a free throw by Kelvin McNeil tied the game at 15-15 with 7:41 on the clock. However Butler then went on 8-0 run, including two three-pointers by Stigall, to take a 23-15 lead and force a UD timeout with 5:12 to play.
The Bulldogs’ lead grew to 10 following a Smith three-pointer, and after Delaware answered with four free throws, Khyle Marshall hit a pair from the line to give Butler a 31-23 halftime lead.
Delaware shot just 32 percent in the opening half and converted only three field goals over the final 14:50 of the period, all by Threatt. The Blue Hens stayed in the game by holding the Bulldogs to just 37 percent shooting, although Butler did connect on five of its 10 three-point attempts.
The Bulldogs then scored the first nine points of the second half, including the first five by Hopkins, to extend the margin to 40-23 on a Kameron Woods jumper with 15:36 to play.
Threatt scored the Blue Hens’ first second half basket with a steal and dunk at the 14:30 mark, and added two more buckets to pull Delaware within 43-29 with 11:38 to play. Brinkley then converted a jumphook inside, while Threatt followed with a steal and a monster one-handed jam to make it a 10-point game and force a Butler timeout with 11:01 remaining.
The Blue Hens got as close as nine following a Saddler three-point play and it was still a 10-point game at 48-38 with 9:45 to go, but the Bulldogs responded with five straight points to go back up 15 on a Woods putback.
Delaware scored the next three points, but Butler answered with five more in a row and led by at least 15 the rest of the way.
The loss caps a successful season for the Blue Hens, who won nine consecutive games before falling to Old Dominion in the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament Quarterfinals. Delaware loses reserves Hakim McCullar and Samer Madarani to graduation but returns the rest of the squad, in addition to redshirts Carl Baptiste and Marvin King-Davis, for what promises to be an exciting 2012-13 season.Back To Men's Basketball Home Men's Basketball Story Archive