The visiting Providence Friars shot season highs in field goal percentage (66.7%) and three point percentage (65%) and held off a second-half Butler rally to secure an 87-81 victory in a BIG EAST matchup at Hinkle Fieldhouse on Sunday, Feb. 23. The loss drops the Bulldogs to 12-15 on the season and 2-13 in conference.
Providence, led by guard Bryce Cotton, carried a 46-33 point lead into halftime after shooting 10-14 from three-point range in the first half. The Bulldogs responded by opening the second half on a 19-4 run, taking a 53-52 lead with 13:03 remaining in regulation. Butler, behind sophomore guard Kellen Dunham and senior forward Khyle Marshall, battled back-and-forth with the Friars (18-10, 8-7 BIG EAST) in the final minutes, before Providence pulled away to an eight-point lead on a trio of free throws from Cotton with 1:26 on the clock.
The Friars iced the game at the free throw line, hitting 16-20 attempts in the second half and 78.3% overall. Cotton finished 7-7 from the line and added five three-pointers to finish with 28 points, six assists, and three rebounds. Five Providence players posted double-digit scoring numbers.
Butler enjoyed a strong shooting night as well, finishing 49.2% from the field and hitting 77.3% at the free throw line. Dunham led all Butler players in scoring, posting 25 points and three assists. Marshall added 22 points and two rebounds for the Bulldogs.
"I'm extremely proud of our guys in terms of the way the battled back in the second half, eventually taking the lead," Butler coach Brandon Miller said. "We fought every second of the way. We battled. Unfortunately, we didn't play smart enough at the end of that game to come out on top."
Butler received a lift from junior forward Kameron Woods (eight points, ten rebounds) and freshman forward Andrew Chrabascz (14 points, four assists). Junior guard Alex Barlow had a game-high eight assists and three steals, adding nine points and five rebounds for the Bulldogs.
Butler will continue BIG EAST on the road at Villanova this Wednesday, Feb. 26, at 8 p.m. EST.
Contact: Mike Murtaugh (firstname.lastname@example.org)