Butler falls to LSU in Old Spice Classic finale

MATTHEW VANTRYON | STAFF REPORTER

Butler suffered its second consecutive defeat Sunday at the hands of the LSU Tigers in the third-place game of the Old Spice Classic 70-68 in overtime.

The Bulldogs (5-2) looked to be on their way to another victory, but were unable to hold a three-point lead with 10 seconds to go. LSU junior guard Anthony Hickey hit a game-tying three pointer to send the game into overtime, and Butler fell short.

Sophomore guard Kellen Dunham had a strong performance, scoring a game-high 20 points and hitting 4-for-8 from beyond the arc.

Senior forward Khyle Marshall added 17 points despite only converting five of 18 field goal attempts. Marshall was 7-for-12 from the free throw line.

Butler began the game strong on the offensive end, taking a 7-0 lead. However, the team went cold as the period continued. Butler shot 32 percent from the floor in the first half.

A 16-4 run by the Tigers (5-2) saw Butler’s first half lead turn into a deficit.

Dunham hit back-to-back three point baskets to give the Bulldogs a 27-26 lead going into halftime.

Butler entered the contest averaging the fewest turnovers per game, at only 7.8 turnovers per game. However, the Bulldogs turned the ball over five times in the first half and 12 times in the contest.

An 8-0 run by the Tigers saw the Bulldogs lead turn into a 41-38 deficit midway through the second half. However, the Bulldogs found themselves with a six-point lead with less than three minutes to go.

The lead was cut to three points with less than a minute remaining, and to one with 15 seconds remaining. Butler had the ball and looked to control its own destiny.

Senior forward Erik Fromm hit both ends of a one-and-one, and Butler had a three-point lead with 10 seconds remaining.

LSU called timeout and inbounded the ball at half-court. The Bulldogs had a chance to foul and make the Tigers attempt two free throws. They chose to play defense.

Hickey drained a three-point attempt to tie the game at 61. Junior guard Alex Barlow missed a last second attempt, and the game headed to overtime.

Butler coach Brandon Miller said the decision to foul is made on a play-by-play basis.

“We talked about fouling or not fouling,” Miller said. “We have a time when we would and wouldn’t. We chose to play our defense. If you foul too early, they can foul you, and now you’re into a free throw war. So we chose not to foul.”

LSU was able to use the momentum to their advantage and control most of the overtime period. Despite cutting the deficit to two points with four seconds to play, the Bulldogs were unable to complete the comeback attempt.

Sophomore guard Devontae Morgan and freshmen guards Elijah Brown and Rene Castro did not see action in the contest. Miller said they will play in the next game.

“That was my decision,” Miller said. “Those guys understand why they didn’t get in the game. All those guys will be at practice Tuesday and all those guys will be expected to play in our next game.”

Brown scored a team-high 15 points in the loss to Oklahoma State Friday.

The team will spend the week preparing for North Dakota Saturday. Tip-off is at 6 p.m. at Hinkle Fieldhouse.

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