Butler senior forward Garrett Butcher made two free throws with 3:35 remaining in last night’s game against Illinois-Chicago.
On the Bulldogs’ next possession Butcher made a long jump shot.
On the ensuing Flames’ possession, senior guard Ronald Nored stole the ball and went the length of the floor for a score.
Coach Brad Stevens then called a timeout to remove the pair.
That was the way Butler’s two graduating players ended their regular-season home careers.
Tuesday’s game was Senior Night, and the two lone athletic seniors left their mark by helping the Bulldogs (18-12, 11-6) beat the Flames (8-19, 3-13) 69-44.
Butler could return home in the Horizon League tournament in a few different scenarios or through the National Invitational Tournament.
Nored came close to his first-ever double-double, scoring 12 points, dishing out eight assists and capturing seven rebounds.
Butcher recorded four points and two steals in his time on the court.
Though it was a night for celebrating the seniors, freshman forward Roosevelt Jones led the way for the Bulldogs with his second consecutive double-double, scoring 13 points and grabbing 10 rebounds.
“[Jones’] toughness allows you to win at home and on the road,” Stevens said.
Two other Bulldogs also posted double figures in points.
Junior center Andrew Smith and sophomore guard Chrishawn Hopkins scored 10 apiece.
Sophomore forward Khyle Marshall provided nine of the Bulldogs’ 20 bench points.
The Flames were led by junior guard Gary Talton and senior center Darrin Williams, who scored 13 and 11 points, respectively.
When Nored and Butcher left the game with 2:39 to go, Hinkle Fieldhouse erupted and an emotional ceremony shortly followed the game.
Stevens thanked the crowd for their support all season and for future support, because “we’re not done yet.”
Each senior also spoke briefly.
“We couldn’t have a better coaching staff,” Butcher said.
“There’s nothing better than Butler,” Nored said in front of his mother, grandmother and high school basketball coach from Alabama.
In a post-game press conference, Butcher described the night as bittersweet.
“It is a special moment I’ll hold in my heart,” Butcher said.
Butler’s victory coupled with Cleveland State’s loss to Green Bay allowed the Bulldogs to gain sole possession of second place in the Horizon League.
In order to secure the No. 2 seed in the conference tournament, the Bulldogs will need to win Friday night against the tournament’s No. 1 seed, Valparaiso and hope for another Cleveland State loss.
On Saturday afternoon, the Bulldogs won a non-conference game against Indiana State as part of BracketBuster Saturday.
In front of a sellout crowd at Hinkle, Butler routed their in-state foe 75-54, showing a glimpse of their late-season heroics from the past two seasons.
Smith led the Bulldogs in scoring with 12 points while collecting five rebounds.
Jones, Hopkins and sophomore forward Erik Fromm each scored 11 points in the contest. Jones also had 12 rebounds, recording his third career double-double.
The Bulldogs got 25 points off the bench, with Khyle Marshall chipping in 10 as one of five players in double figures.
Butler shot 8-for-20 from behind the 3-point line. All nine of junior guard Chase Stigall’s points came from beyond the arc.
Sophomore forward R.J. Mahurin led the Sycamores (16-12) with a career-high 22 points, going 4-for-6 from the 3-point line.
The Bulldogs will hit the road to take on Valparaiso in the regular-season finale at 7 p.m. Friday.