The Bulldogs held their deficit to single digits for most of the contest despite shooting poorly from the field as a team. Butler's ability to take care of the basketball and earn free points at the foul line kept the visiting Hoyas from running away with a win in regulation.
For its part, Georgetown could not stop fouling. Already without forward Joshua Smith due to an academic issue, the Hoyas' Nate Lubick, Mikael Hopkins, and Moses Ayegba all fouled out. That left the visitors with little-used freshman Reggie Cameron(8.9 minutes per game entering tonight) and 6'6" Aaron Bowen as the only forwards available to play. Credit John Thompson III with orchestrating an effective 2-3 defense that limited Butler's ability to take advantage of Georgetown's untested interior D.
As for Butler, the Bulldogs showed some fight in clawing back from eight down in the second half to lose another heartbreaker. Markel Starks' three pointer to force overtime reminds Butler fans of the LSU loss earlier this season. I'd still like to see Brandon Miller tell his players to foul in that situation, but the Hoyas had struggled with three-point shooting all game and Starks just made a good shot over decent defending. Not to mention, there was enough time remaining that Coach Miller probably did not want to force a free throw competition.
What really let the Bulldogs down in overtime were mental mistakes and poor defense in the paint. Alex Barlow'sin-bounds pass with a minute remaining in the extra period turned into an Aaron Bowen layup at the other end when a Butler basket could have put the Bulldogs ahead for good. An Andrew Chrabascz foul a bit earlier gave Georgetown a three-point play when all the momentum in Hinkle Fieldhouse was behind the home squad. Mental mistakes proving fatal once again by a team that has seemed to wilt under the bright lights of the Big East this year.
Butler Breakdown (Player Grades)-
Alex Barlow (D) struggled to initiate offense near the end of regulation and in overtime. He hit a key three with 2:18 left in the second half, but went 0-4 after that with the aforementioned turnover. Any time the junior defensive specialist attempts seven three pointers, and misses all but one of them, there is something off with the Butler offensive attack.
Dunham (D+) played all 45 minutes. He scored 21, but it wasn't anywhere near efficient. 1-11 from beyond the arc (Butler made 9.5% of its threes--yikes!) and 6-19 from the floor. He gets a small boost for making all eight free throws. Butler's other star Khyle Marshall (C-) came to play for most of the game. He finished with 18 points and four rebounds, but forced it a bit on one of Butler's last possessions that gave Reggie Cameron a layup at the other end to seal the game.
Kameron Woods (C-) gave his typical solid effort on the glass, but was a very poor 0-6 shooting the ball. With Erik Fromm (C-) nearly invisible and Andrew Chrabascz (B-) impressing on the offensive end, you have to wonder if there might be a change in the starting frontcourt at some point just to mix things up. Chrabascz has looked poor on defense at times but he was Butler's only effective offensive weapon near the end.
0-4 in conference for the first time in a decade, the Bulldogs need to find some way to right the ship. What was once a surprisingly impressive season threatens to come off the rails altogether.
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