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Late layup carries Butler past Creighton

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OMAHA, Neb. — Butler busted loose from its Villanova hangover long enough to shake off pesky Creighton and escape with a 58-56 Big East victory Monday.

Just over 48 hours after an emotional home loss to No. 6 Villanova, the 19th-ranked Bulldogs trailed the Bluejays 54-48 with 3:13 remaining in front of a boisterous crowd of 17,971.

Bulldogs forward Roosevelt Jones sank the winning layup with three seconds to play. Bluejays guard Austin Chatman missed a 3-point attempt with one second left.

Jones was happy to let a few of the more blustery Bluejays boosters know how much making that shot meant to him. The 6-foot-4 junior from O’Fallon, Ill., ran toward the tables opposite the bench side of the court and showed the fans this Bulldog had grown weary of their barking.

“I was just telling them to have a good trip back,” Jones said. “They were talking to me throughout the whole game, so I was just telling them to have a good trip back home.”

Jones was one of three Butler players who finished in double figures. Guard Kellen Dunham finished with a game-high 19 points, and Jones added 18 points. Butler forward Kameron Woods contributed 10 points and 10 rebounds.

Chatman turned up the defensive pressure on Dunham in the second half, limiting him to six points.

“He started pushing off a little bit, and it was getting a little chippier,” Chatman said. “That’s just the game of basketball, but he was getting a little frustrated.”

Chatman and guard Devin Brooks each scored 17 points for the Bluejays (12-15, 3-11 Big East). No other Creighton player finished in double figures.

“I looked at our offensive numbers, and they’re not nearly as bad as I thought they were,” Bulldogs coach Chris Holtmann said. “I just thought they showed great grit to pull this one out down the stretch.”

Butler (19-7, 9-4 Big East) was lethargic through much of the second half, but it got an offensive spark when it counted most.

Two layups — one by Dunham and another by guard Alex Barlow after he stole the ball on Creighton’s ensuing possession — sparked the comeback. Barlow’s basket started a three-point play, and Creighton’s lead was down to one.

Now trailing by one with 2:39 to go, the Bulldogs took advantage of Creighton missing the front end of a one-and-one. A three-point play by Jones put Butler ahead 56-54 with 1:52 remaining.

Brooks answered with a layup, tying the game with 1:29 to go.

With 30 seconds left, Dunham missed a shot, Barlow grabbed the offensive rebound, and the Bulldogs brought the ball out top to run the clock down for the winning layup by Jones.

“It was a huge play by Alex,” Dunham said. “He makes them all the time in practice and makes them all the time in the game. That’s what makes him a special player.

“Obviously, Roosevelt he’s got ice in his veins. It was great to see him attacking aggressively. It was a great win.”

Butler outshot Creighton from the floor, 49.1 percent to 43.8 percent. Each team grabbed 29 rebounds.

“We were tough about 95 percent of the time,” Creighton coach Greg McDermott said. “The 5 percent that we weren’t got us beat. You have to out-will the other team. Butler played great down the stretch. We had a hard time stopping them.”

The Bulldogs won despite playing without Andrew Chrabascz. The sophomore forward sustained a broken bone in his right hand in the second half of the loss to Villanova, and he is expected to be out two to four weeks.

Butler jumped to a 14-8 lead in the opening seven minutes with a blend of inside and outside shots.

The Bluejays grabbed their first lead of the game on a 3-pointer by Brooks 4:34 before halftime. Creighton led by as many as seven points in the half and took a 29-25 lead to the locker room.

NOTES: Among those attending Monday’s game were former Nebraska basketball coach and current Butler AD Barry Collier, Chicago Bulls rookie and former Creighton All-American Doug McDermott, and Boston Celtics coach and former Butler head coach Brad Stevens. … Creighton is still looking for its first losing streak since early

Up to the minute news and reports from the news wire of The Sports Xchange.

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