Matthew Vantryon | Assistant Sports Editor
Coming into their Saturday matinee versus Marquette, Butler (11-7, 1-5) had opened its home conference schedule with three consecutive overtime contests and three losses.
The overtime trend continued Saturday afternoon, but the Bulldogs finally found themselves on the winning end of the scoreboard as the final horn sounded.
The Bulldogs overcame a 12-point second half deficit at the hands of the Marquette Golden Eagles (10-8, 2-3) to come away with a 69-57 overtime win.
Butler Coach Brandon Miller said he was proud of the team and glad to get the win.
“Our guys deserved the result that we got tonight,” Miller said. “We worked extremely hard.”
Sophomore guard Kellen Dunham and senior Khyle Marshall led the team with 18 points each. Junior forward Kameron Woods posted a double-double with 16 points and a game-high 14 rebounds.
The Bulldogs shot 45 percent in the opening period, but eight turnovers proved costly. Marquette senior forward Davante Gardner scored 13 points in the first half, having his way in the paint.
Butler struggled at the free throw line, shooting 2-for-6 in the first half.
Butler suffered a scare in the first half, as Marshall hit the floor hard and had to be helped off midway through.
After testing his agility during halftime, Marshall came back on the floor to start the second half and scored eight points in the second half and overtime.
Marquette opened the second half on a 4-0 run to take a 10-point lead. Marquette extended its lead to as many as 12 points with 16 minutes to play in the game.
After a media timeout, the tide turned in Butler’s favor.
Butler’s defense shut down the Golden Eagles for the rest of regulation, allowing only three field goals after the timeout.
Miller attributed the win to the team’s defense down the stretch.
“I thought our team defense in the second part of the game was the story. Proud of our guys to execute on that end of the floor,” Miller said.
Meanwhile, Butler’s offense came to life. An 8-2 Butler run that included three-pointers from Dunham and Senior forward Erik Fromm tied the contest at 44 with six minutes to play in regulation.
Dunham hit a jumper to give Butler its first lead since the start of the contest.
Butler led 49-45 with 1:30 to play in the game, but missed two free throws with less than a minute to play and missed a chance to put the game away.
Marquette hit two at the line with less than five seconds to play and sent the game to overtime. It was Butler’s fourth consecutive overtime game at home in conference play.
Butler had struggled in the extra period this season coming into the game. That was not the case Saturday. Butler jumped out to a seven-point lead in overtime and held Marquette to 3-for-8 shooting.
Butler got to the line often in overtime, hitting 11 of 15 from the free throw line.
What had once been a 12-point deficit turned into a 12-point margin of victory for the Bulldogs.
Woods said this isn’t “just another win” for the team.
“To say that this is just a regular win would probably be a stretch,” said Woods. “We’ve talked about getting over the hump. (We have) tough guys.”
Butler improved to 2-4 in overtime this season with the win.