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Game Recap: LSU 70, Butler 68 (OT)

Butler controls the boards, but can't close out a win for the second time in three days.

Sam Greenwood

Four factors

68 possessions Butler LSU
Effective FG% 47.7% 53.1%
Turnover % 17.6% 14.7%
Offensive Rebound % 40.0% 23.0%
FTA/FGA 30.8 18.8

Playing without Elijah Brown, the Butler Bulldogs suffered another heartbreaking loss to close out the Old Spice Classic.

Up one with 15 seconds remaining, Butler needed multiple tries to inbound the ball. On the second attempt, Erik Fromm pulled in an errant in-bounds pass and sank both free throws to extend the cushion to three points with 12.5 seconds on the clock. After Khyle Marshall gave up a chance to win at the foul line against Oklahoma State, Butler fans had to be nervous seeing another big man take the shots.

Instead of fouling, the Bulldogs allowed LSU's Anthony Hickey to tie it with an open three pointer on the next possession. Alex Barlow's attempt to win in regulation rimmed out and the game went to overtime.

Both teams traded leads in the extra period, before a Johnny O'Bryant jumper put LSU up 69-66 with just over a minute left on the clock. Errant three-pointers by Marshall and Fromm wasted Butler's last two good possessions and LSU held on by two.

Coach Brandon Miller has to be satisfied with the effort, if not the outcome. Butler dominated the offensive glass for much of the contest, leading for much of regulation despite shooting 33.8 percent from the floor. Still, the decision not to foul when up three points with ten seconds left ultimately threw away Butler's best chance for a quality non-conference win.

The Bulldogs leave Orlando with a 5-2 overall record and a sense of what-might-have-been. Next opponent is North Dakota on December 7th. Butler still has Purdue on the non-conference slate, but the rest of December should be filled with opportunities to pad the win column and give reserves a bit more playing time.

UPDATE: Miller said post-game that Brown, Devontae Morgan, and Rene Castro were healthy but were held out of the game for another reason. No elaboration. Should be available for the next game however.

Player Grades

Starters Grade Comments
Alex Barlow B+ Nine points and 10 rebounds for the often-maligned defensive stopper. Barlow has made five three-pointers in his last two games. He sank eight all of last season.
Kellen Dunham B- Got the outside shot to fall en route to a 20 point performance. Not much worked inside the arc, however. Added six rebounds and three assists. Didn't score in the last 11:30 of game time when he was needed most.
Khyle Marshall C Played hard even though the shots weren't falling (5-18 from the floor). Made four straight free throw attempts in overtime, a surprising improvement. Was key to Butler controlling the offensive glass with nine total rebounds.
Kameron Woods C+ 12 and 11 for his third double-double of the season. Turned the ball over five times and needed to do more inside on defense. LSU outscored Butler 38-12 in the paint.
Erik Fromm C- 2 of 7 shooting, all three point attempts. Lowest rebounding total of the starters. Also needs to be a much more reliable interior defender against teams that will pound it inside in Big East play.

Coach Grade Comments
Brandon Miller D+ The decision not to foul is a common one, but will certainly be second-guessed after this loss. With no Elijah Brown, Miller stuck to a small rotation and it came back to bite him as Butler looked tired down the stretch and could not create scoring opportunities.