Butler Stuns Top-Ranked Indiana

Butler Stuns Top-Ranked Indiana
Sophomore Alex Barlow (Photo by John Fetcho)
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INDIANAPOLIS, IND. -- Sophomore Alex Barlow only had two field goals, but his final one will go down as one of the biggest shots in Butler basketball history!  Barlow hit a one-handed, floater in the lane with two seconds remaining to lift Butler to an 88-86 overtime victory over previously unbeaten and No. 1-ranked Indiana in the first game of the Close the Gap Crossroads Classic at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Saturday (Dec. 15).

The dramatic shot by the unlikely hero, a walk-on guard from Springboro, Ohio, gave Butler it's first victory in five tries against a No. 1-ranked team.  It also stretched the Bulldogs' current winning streak to five straight games and boosted Butler to 8-2 on the season.  Indiana fell to 9-1.

"I was looking for the options and they weren't open.  I saw the clock get to six (seconds), and I thought I'd try and make a play," said Barlow of his final squence.  "I like to get to my right hand so I did a little spin move, and the floater is a shot I work on a lot. I just happened to get a lucky bounce."

The shot by Barlow fell through the net with 0:02.6 left.  A desperation shot by Indiana's Jordon Hulls from just inside the halfcourt stripe came up short, and Butler's fans celebrated yet another magical moment for the Bulldogs.

Barlow wasn't Butler's only hero.  Sophomore Roosevelt Jones, called by head coach Brad Stevens "the best player on the floor," recorded his fifth career double-double and was headed for a rare triple-double before fouling out in regulation play.  He finished with 16 points, a game-high 12 rebounds, a game-high seven assists and two blocked shots.

Senior guard Rotnei Clarke, hounded relentlessly by Indiana's Victor Oladipo, hit five of 11 shots from beyond the three-point arc and led all scorers with 19 points.  He scored five of Butler's 12 points in overtime.

Senior center Andrew Smith finished with 12 points, nine rebounds and a pair of blocked shots, but his biggest contribution may have come in his work to contain Indiana center Cody Zeller.  The Indiana seven-footer finished with 18 points, but only had four field goals in the game.

Junior Khyle Marshall hit five of 10 shots and finished with 10 points and five rebounds.

Junior Erik Fromm and senior Chase Stigall each came off the bench and hit a pair of three-point field goals.  Fromm finished with 10 points and five rebounds.  Stigall added six points on big three-pointers late in regulation play and in the final minute of the overtime period.

Butler looked ready to spring the upset in regulation play, building a seven-point lead, 71-64, with 2:22 remaining.  But the Hoosiers showed why they're the nation's top-ranked team down the stretch, outscoring Butler, 12-5, in the final two minutes to send the game into overtime.  Freshman Yogi Ferrell nailed a three-point field goal with six seconds left to tie the score at 76-76.

The Bulldogs, who lost Smith and Jones to fouls in regulation play and Fromm in the overtime period, found themselves playing catch-up in the extra session.  Zeller scored on a lay-up with 2:12 left in overtime to give Indiana an 84-80 lead, and it began to look like the Hoosiers might survive.

"We were in trouble when it was 84-80 with three of our guys sitting on the bench next to me," said Butler head coach Brad Stevens.  "And bang, Rotnei hits one off a a loose-ball type deal, and then Chase hits a big one."

The back-to-back three-point field goals by Clarke and Stigall gave Butler a two-point lead with under a minute to go.  Zeller tied the game with his 18th point with 0:19 left, setting the stage for Barlow's game-winning sequence.

Butler trailed 37-33 at halftime, and Indiana maintained the upper hand through the first 14 minutes of the second half.  But the Bulldogs turned an 8-0 scoring run into a 66-59 advantage with 4:32 left.  Freshman Kellen Dunham started the run with a three-point field, Smith scored on a lay-up and Stigall finished the run with a three-point field goal.

The Bulldogs remained on top until Ferrell's three-pointer in the closing seconds.

Oladipo shared Indiana's scoring lead with Zeller.  Will Sheehey came off the bench with 13 points, Ferrell finished with 12 and Christian Watford added 10.

The Bulldogs out-rebounded Indiana, 40-38, and Butler out-scored the Hoosiers by 18 points from beyond the three-point arc.  But the Hoosiers, who shot 38 free throws, had a commanding, 27-11, advantage at the free throw line.

Butler will wrap-up its pre-Christmas schedule at home with a game against state foe Evansville on Saturday, Dec. 22.  That game at Hinkle Fieldhouse will start at 2 p.m. (ET).