Bulldogs start strong, hang on to beat No. 9 UNC

Senior guard Rotnei Clarke and freshman guard Kellen Dunham each tallied 17 points, and the Butler men’s basketball team used a strong first 30 minutes to defeat No. 9 North Carolina 82-71. The game was a semifinal match-up of the Maui Invitational.

The Tar Heels (4-1) made a strong run through the final 10 minutes, but the Bulldogs (3-1) were able to come up with key stops late.

The Bulldogs hit 12 of 25 3-point attempts in the contest. Clarke and Dunham combined for nine of those, with Dunham going 5 of 9 from beyond the arc.

Butler held UNC to 18 points in the opening half and held a 17-point advantage going into the locker room. The output was the Tar Heels’ lowest of the young season.

The Bulldogs did not miss many shots in the first 10 minutes of the second half, pushing their lead to as many as 28.

The Tar Heels began to chip away late, eventually cutting the Butler lead to six with 1:03 remaining.

A much-improved performance from the free throw line helped Butler seal the victory, however. The Bulldogs went 20 of 25 from the charity stripe in the contest.

Sophomore forward Khyle Marshall had 10 points and a game-high 11 rebounds. Butler out-rebounded UNC 36-27, including 12-10 in offensive rebounds.

Senior center Andrew Smith tallied 13 points before fouling out in the final two minutes. Senior guard Chase Stigall added nine points, including back-to-back 3-point baskets that temporarily stalled the Tar Heels’ run late.

Sophomore guard P.J. Hairston led UNC in scoring with 15 points. Highly-touted sophomore forward James Michael McAdoo was held to 10 points and five rebounds.

Butler will take on the winner of tonight’s game between Chaminade and Illinois in the invitational’s championship game Wednesday.

BY THE NUMBERS

Butler

Rotnei Clarke: 17 points, 5 rebounds, 5 for 11 FG shooting, 4 for 6 3-pt shooting

Kellen Dunham: 17 points, 5 rebounds, 5 for 10 FG shooting, 5 for 9 3-pt shooting

Andrew Smith: 13 points, 7 of 8 FT shooting

Khyle Marshall: 10 points, 11 rebounds

Roosevelt Jones: 6 points, 4 assists

North Carolina

P.J. Hairston: 15 points, 7 rebounds

Marcus Paige: 13 points, 5 assists, 5 of 10 FG shooting

Reggie Bullock: 13 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists

James Michael McAdoo: 10 points, 5 rebounds, 5 of 11 FG shooting

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