Butler stuns No. 1 Indiana in OT

Alex Barlow hit a tear-drop layup with less than three seconds remaining in overtime, and the Butler men’s basketball team shocked No. 1 Indiana 88-86 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse Saturday.

The game was the first of two in the second Crosstown Classic.

“My initial thoughts were we were in trouble when it was 84-80 with three guys sitting on the bench next to me,” Butler coach Brad Stevens said. “Such a gutty effort by our guys. Don’t use this as an excuse to get down on Indiana.”

With about 19 seconds remaining in the game, the score was tied at 86 and Barlow moved the ball upcourt off an inbound pass. He let some time tick off the clock, then drove it straight into the paint, twisting and turning as he released the floater. It bounced around the rim and eventually fell with 2.5 seconds remaining.

“I was looking for the options, and they weren’t open,” Barlow said. “I saw the clock at about six (seconds), so I figured I’d try to make a play.

“The floater is a shot I work on a lot, and I just happened to get a lucky bounce.”

Indiana called a timeout to draw up their final play, but senior guard Jordan Hulls was unable to connect from near half court as time expired.

The Bulldogs (8-2) played all of the overtime frame without senior center Andrew Smith and sophomore forward Roosevelt Jones, who both fouled out in regulation.

Many of Butler’s key players struggled with foul trouble all afternoon. In addition to Smith and Jones, junior forward Erik Fromm fouled out during the overtime period. Barlow had tallied four by the end of the contest.

The game started at a slow pace, which played into Butler’s hands. The Hoosiers (9-1) scored the first points of the game nearly two minutes in.

The Bulldogs grabbed an early 9-5 advantage with four points from Jones and a 3-point basket from Smith.

Indiana moved in front 13-12 on a dunk by junior guard Victor Oladipo with 11:38 remaining in the half. Butler would not lead again until the 5:54 mark of the second half.

Indiana led 37-33 at halftime, spurred by nearly 44 percent shooting from the field and 12 free throw attempts to Butler’s four.

The Bulldogs shot better than 39 percent from the field in the first 20 minutes, but they struggled to contain Oladipo, who tallied 10 points in that time.

While the Hoosiers’ defense did a good job containing senior guard Rotnei Clarke in the first half (six points), Jones was all over the court. He posted eight points, eight rebounds and five assists in 19 minutes of action.

“I thought it was hard for them to guard Roosevelt, really hard,” Stevens said. “With all due respect to everyone else on the court, I thought he was the best player on the floor when he was on the floor. When that ball went up to the rim, he found ways to get it on both ends of the floor.”

Clarke credited Oladipo with attempting a different type of defense while guarding him.

“Most guys will stay below me, but Oladipo went high and kind of denied me, trying not to let me touch the ball,” Clarke said. “It was my teammates in the second half.”

The Bulldogs trailed 57-50 after senior forward Christian Watford hit a free throw with nine minutes remaining.

Butler began its push toward regaining the lead after the converted free throw. The Bulldogs scored six of the next eight points to cut the deficit to 59-56. Smith then made a pair of layups, sandwiched around a 3-point basket from Dunham.

Stigall then drained a 3-pointer to push Butler to a 66-59 lead.

The Hoosiers did not hit a field goal between a 3-pointer by junior forward Will Sheehey at the 11:24 mark and a layup by sophomore guard Remy Abell at the 3:43 mark.

Up 71-64 with 2:25 remaining, Butler attempted to fend off a push by Indiana. The Hoosiers pulled to within two with 1:14 remaining at 71-69.

Dunham made one of two free throws — the miss was only his second of the season — on the next possession to give Butler a three-point lead. Freshman guard Yogi Farrell then committed a turnover with 49 seconds remaining, after which Dunham was fouled again. This time, he sank both free throw attempts to put Butler up 74-69.

Farrell made a layup on IU’s next possession, and Oladipo used a full court press to steal the ball from Dunham on the ensuing inbound pass. Oladipo made a layup to cut the Bulldogs’ lead to one.

Barlow was fouled on the next possession and made a pair of free throws, giving Butler a 76-73 lead.

Indiana gave the ball to Farrell on offense, and he responded by sinking a 3-pointer with less than 10 seconds left to tie the game.

Butler senior guard Chase Stigall attempted a 3-point shot of his own on the final possession of regulation, but he was unable to convert.

“We had a timeout left, but as he was dribbling down the court, I didn’t see us getting a better look than that,” Stevens said.

Butler shot nearly 52 percent from the field in the second half, but it wasn’t enough to put away the Hoosiers just yet. Indiana hit 18 of 24 free throw opportunities in the second half to stave off defeat in regulation.

The Bulldogs entered overtime without Smith and Jones, who both fouled out in the final two minutes of regulation. They also went into extra time with Barlow and Fromm both sitting on four fouls.

“Proud of your effort, keep it going,” Stevens said of his message to the team heading into overtime. “We switched a ton of ball screens. We didn’t feel like we wanted to give that up on those guys.”

The Hoosiers took an 84-80 lead with 2:14 remaining in overtime after a layup by sophomore forward Cody Zeller. The Bulldogs would not be denied, however, as Clarke and Stigall sank back-to-back 3’s after the Zeller basket to give Butler an 86-84 advantage.

Zeller made another basket with 23 seconds remaining to knot the game up at 86, setting the stage for Barlow’s dramatics.

It was Butler’s first victory over a No. 1 team in the regular season. The Bulldogs posted their fifth consecutive victory overall and their sixth straight at Bankers Life.

“I told Rotnei, you didn’t come here to win a game in December,” Stevens said. “As a coach, I’d like to have Xavier and Illinois back, but I’m not going to be greedy.”

Jones called the victory “a good confidence boost,” but said the Bulldogs are aware of their ability.

“We already know how good we are and how good we can be,” Jones said. “So we just want to prepare for Evansville and get ready to play hard again another game.”

Clarke finished with a game-high 19 points on 7 of 19 shooting, including 5 of 11 from beyond the arc. Clarke, who is in his first season with Butler, played all but a few possessions in the contest.

“I think it’s work ethic,” Clarke said of his ability to play for long stretches. “Just going into the gym every night and shooting game-like shots and doing game-like things has really prepared me for this.”

Jones had a game-high 12 rebounds and tallied 16 points in 29 minutes. Smith finished with 12 points and nine rebounds, while junior forward Khyle Marshall and Fromm also reached double figures in scoring.

Oladipo was Indiana’s offensive sparkplug, tallying 18 points on 7 of 10 shooting. He also had four steals and a pair of blocks.

“Oladipo is just a hard guy to play against,” Stevens said. “We walked out of our locker room, I turned to (assistant coach) Matthew Graves and said ‘I’ve never seen a guy that athletic.'”

Zeller also recorded 18 points, although 10 of them came from the free throw line. Sheehey (13), Ferrell (12) and Watford (10) all posted double-figure points as well.

Butler outrebounded Indiana 40-38, including a 24-17 advantage at halftime. The Hoosiers turned the ball over just one time outside of Oladipo and Ferrell, who each had six turnovers.

The Bulldogs will now prepare for Evansville, whom they’ve lost to in overtime each of the last two seasons. This season’s contest will happen at Hinkle Fieldhouse at 2:00 Saturday.

“Ready to go,” Clarke said. “We’ll enjoy this one today, but we’ll get prepared and be ready for them.”

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