Coming off of a big win at home late last week, the Butler Bulldogs rode their offensive momentum into New Jersey to defeat the No. 21 Seton Hall Pirates 79-75 in OT on the road. As always, our Crossover Examinations will take a closer look at each squad's performance in the coming days, but in the meantime, here's three quick takeaways:
1. Roosevelt Jones gets it done for the Bulldogs
Jones was hot coming into tonight after getting his offensive groove back against Xavier, and the junior forward kept the train rolling tonight with 23 points and eight rebounds. Jones' biggest issue throughout the season has been his efficiency, but he converted nine of his 15 attempts from the floor tonight and singlehandedly sealed the victory with a pair of clutch buckets in the final minute of overtime. He plays with the build and tenacity of a middle linebacker and might be the ultimate "Jesus take the wheel" shooter in college basketball, but Jones was a marvel tonight when it mattered. His point total marked a season-high, and absolutely served as his most promising performance of the year.
2. Seton Hall's one-two punch comes up short
While Jones was definitely the hero of this one late in the game, it's difficult to know how this would have turned out had Seton Hall's Sterling Gibbs (30 points, 6-9 3FG) not fouled out in the final minutes of OT. Gibbs, whose late-game heroics lifted the Pirates over Creighton over the weekend, hit his sixth and final three of the night with 2:32 left in the extra period to draw the game within one, but fouled out on the ensuing drive. As Gibbs went to the bench, so did the Hall's offensive momentum. However, Gibbs was tremendous in the second half, erasing the Butler lead with his devastating quick first step and accuracy from deep. Likewise, the Pirates got another great performance out of Angel Delgado, who perfectly complemented Gibbs' game by dropping 12 points and 15 rebounds down low. In the end, Gibbs' fifth foul and Delgado's unreliability as a free throw shooter made things tough for Seton Hall, but that shouldn't overshadow just how good these two were tonight.
3. Bulldogs battle through foul troubles
Gibbs wasn't the only key starter to foul out late in the game, with Butler's Alex Barlow and Andrew Chrabascz each having to head to the bench with five fouls by the end of regulation. This looked like a recipe for disaster, but the Bulldogs got reliable performances from the bench to keep the ball alive for Jones and Kellen Dunham (21 points, five rebounds). Before coming out, Barlow struggled a bit from range, hitting just two of his ten attempts behind the arc. However, the looks were open, so this may be a bit of an anomaly. Chrabascz was terrific once again, giving the Bulldogs great offensive balance for the second game in a row and dropping 12 points while taking it to the Pirate defenders down low. If the Bulldogs keep this offensive hot streak going, they're going to be tough to beat.