Khyle Marshall missed two free throws with eight seconds left in regulation to tie or win the game for Butler. Not a strong foul shooter in most circumstances, Marshall made six of seven the day before against Washington State. This time, Marshall clanked both with the game on the line.
After a Le'Bryan Nash free throw, Elijah Brown had a chance to win it for Butler. Michael Cobbins stepped up and blocked Brown's last-second three into the stands to end the game.
Oklahoma State shut down Kellen Dunham for most of the contest by switching athletic defenders on the hot shooter and eliminating any open looks. Dunham finished with nine points on 3-of-14 shooting. Dunham won't face many defenses that can take him out of a contest quite that effectively, but its safe to say that Butler fans hope to see the Dunham who scored 32 the day before a lot more than this version.
Khyle Marshall was also hampered by Oklahoma State's physical defense down low, contributing just eight points and five rebounds. He was a bit more efficient than Dunham, but the senior really needed to take advantage of the opportunity to win the game from the line.
Point guard Alex Barlow had his best game of the season. With Marshall and Dunham neutralized, Butler's struggled tremendously on offense in the first half. Barlow contributed 12 points and three assists to go with three steals on defense. He finished the game with four fouls, but was much more effective on both ends of the floor than he was in round one.
Kameron Woods scored 12 points and pulled down nine boards. Woods was assigned with defending Marcus Smart most of the game and performed relatively well. Smart turned the ball over five times and was held to his second-lowest scoring output of the season.
Elijah Brown provided a spark off the bench. Brown led the team with 15 points, despite struggling from beyond the arc (1-of-5). Brown, Woods, and Andrew Chrabascz combined to go 12-of-13 from the free throw line.
As a team, Butler fell behind early by allowing too many points in the paint. The Bulldogs made one defensive stop after another with the game on the line, however, holding Oklahoma State without a basket in the last four minutes of the game. In that stretch Butler cut a nine point lead to one and had multiple chances to win this game.
An inspired performance, but the game results in Butler's first loss nonetheless. Sunday's third place game against the loser of the Memphis/LSU contest will provide an opportunity for the Bulldogs to bounce back and go 2-1 in the tournament.
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