A. J. Graves scored 17 points and Mike Green added 16 to lead visiting Butler to a 78-66 come-from-behind victory over Florida Gulf Coast in a non-league contest at Alico Arena in Fort Myers, Fla., on Saturday (Dec. 22). The win lifted #16 Butler to 11-1 on the season.
Graves and Green combined for 19 points in the second half to spark Butler's comeback. The game was tied at 33-33 at halftime, but the Bulldogs rolled up 45 points in the final 20 minutes. Graves tallied 12 points in the final period, while Green added seven.
The host Eagles (3-9) scored the first six points of the game and led by nine, 11-2, less than six minutes into the contest. Fueled by the hot hand of forward Casey Wohlleb, Florida Gulf Coast maintained an advantage for nearly 15 minutes, before Graves tied the game at 23-23 with a three-point play. The two team traded leads for the final five minutes of the first half, before ending in a deadlock.
Senior Julian Betko gave the Bulldogs a 42-39 lead with a three-point field goal less than two minutes into the second half, and Butler never trailed for the rest of the contest. But the decision wasn't sealed until the Bulldogs closed with a 10-2 run in the final two minutes.
Graves hit nine of nine shots from the free throw line to help Butler to a season-high 26 of 28 (.929) from the charity stripe. Green added eight of nine from the free throw line.
Betko, who hit four of five shots from beyond the three-point arc, and freshman Matt Howard each finished with 12 points. Wohlleb led all scorers with 24 points.
Butler will take a brief break, before returning to action at Southern Illinois on Friday, Dec. 28. That game will be televised nationally on ESPNU.