Butler Falls In Overtime At Old Spice Classic

Khyle Marshall (Photo by John Fetcho)

ORLANDO, FLA. -- LSU came from behind to tie the game at the end of regulation and then took control in overtime to hand Butler a 70-68 setback in the third place game at the Old Spice Classic on Sunday (Dec. 1).  It was Butler's second straight two-point loss in the tournament.

Gurad Anthony Hickey, scoreless for nearly 40 minutes, hit a three-point field goal with just over four seconds remaining to tie the game at 61-61, and the game went into an extra period when Butler's Alex Barlow missed a desperation three-point attempt at the final buzzer.

The Tigers (5-2) took the lead for good in the overtime period at 67-65 on a jump shot by Andre Stringer.  Butler's Khyle Marshall did cut the lead to one, 67-66, with a free throw, but forward Johnny O'Bryant III scored three straight points to give LSU it's biggest lead of the game.

"In close games there are a lot of things that can happen," said Butler head coach Brandon Miller after the game.  "Give a lot of credit to LSU, the way the executed down the stretch, the plays that they made.  They played well and at the end of the day they beat us."

Butler (5-2), coming off a 69-67 loss to #5 Oklahom State, jumped to a 7-0 lead in the game and led by eight, 12-4, less than six minutes into the contest.  But the Tigers battled back and cut the margin to a single point, 27-26, at halftime.

The Bulldogs remained in front for most of the second half, leading by as many as seven points, 53-46, with six-and-a-half minutes remaining.  LSU eventually tied the game for the eighth time at 56-56 with just over two minutes remaining.

Barlow nailed his third three-point field goal of the game with 1:22 remaining to put Butler on top by three points, 59-56.  After LSU trimmed the margin to one with 0:18 left, senior Erik Fromm calmly hit two free throws to extrend Butler's lead to three again, 61-58, with just 12 seconds remaining.

That's when LSU set up a final play for Hickey, and the junior delivered from the top of the key.

The Bulldogs finished with four players in double-figures, led by sophomore Kellen Dunham with a game-high 20 points.  Marshall added 17, junior Kameron Woods had 12 and Fromm finished with 10.  O'Bryant led LSU with 17.

Woods and Barlow led Butler to a commanding 48-36 rebounding advantage in the contest.  Woods led the way with 11 rebounds, posting his third double-double of the season.  Barlow added a career-high 10 rebounds, as well as team-highs of four assists and two steals.
 
Butler played the game short-handed.  Reserves Elijah Brown, Devontae Morgan and Rene Castro did not play (Coach's Decision), which meant each of Butler's starters played at least 32 minutes in the contest.  Barlow played a career-high 44 minutes, while Dunham played 42.

"I look at the third game in four days.  We have guys play 32, 38, 38, 42 and 44 minutes, and they gave every ounce of energy and effort they had tonight.  I thought it was a really gutsy performance by the guys who were on the floor," added Miller.  "I was proud of the way they performed. I was proud of our basketball team tonight."

Butler will return to Indianapolis for back-to-back home games against North Dakota and Manchester.  The Bulldogs will host North Dakota on Saturday, Dec. 7, at 6 p.m., and Manchester on Monday, Dec. 9, at 8 p.m.