INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Butler coach Chris Holtmann spent most of the last two weeks trying to get his team to play its old style. On Saturday, the pleas paid big dividends
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Butler coach Chris Holtmann spent most of the last two weeks trying to get his team to play its old style.
On Saturday, the pleas paid big dividends
Senior forward Andrew Chrabascz recommended using an inbound play with 15.6 seconds left and Tyler Lewis found Tyler Wideman for a dunk to help No. 18 Butler hold on for an 83-77 victory over No. 9 Indiana at the Crossroads Classic.
"I knew he (Lewis) would make the right read," Chrabascz said. "Just a spur of the moment, put something out there and coach agreed with it. It's a one-in-a-million chance. He's got to agree every once in a while."
There was plenty for Holtmann to like in this one.
Kelan Martin scored 28 points, while Chrabascz and Kamar Baldwin each added 14 to give the Bulldogs (10-1) their second straight win overall and their second upset of Indiana in four years in a doubleheader that features the state's four highest-profile basketball schools.
And though Indiana cut an 11-point deficit with 8:10 to play to 79-77 in the final minute, the Hoosiers (8-2) never had the ball with a chance to force a tie or take the lead in the second half.
No, it wasn't easy — it never is against their in-state rival.
But the Bulldogs, as they usually do, shared some suggestions, protected the ball and found a way to hold on f or a win.
James Blackmon Jr. got the Hoosiers' offense in sync in the second half when he scored 16 of his 26 points. Thomas Bryant had 15 points and seven rebounds, but when the Hoosiers couldn't get the late stop they needed, their five-game winning streak was over.
"Just a misunderstanding with me and my teammates," Bryant said, referring to the blown defensive assignment on Wideman. "I've just got to be better in that moment."
A mistake that Chrabascz sensed was coming and that Holtmann took a chance on.
"The pass was really important," Holtmann said. "You guys know it doesn't always work like that, and I was glad it did there."
Butler: After last week's stumble at Indiana State, the Bulldogs have rebounded with consecutive wins over ranked foes and are 3-0 against the Top 25 and 2-0 against the Top 10 this season. It should be a good resume to help Butler climb in the polls.
Indiana: For the second time this season, the Hoosiers played an in-state opponent — and somehow they have managed to lose both. Indiana has a chance to rebound at their favorite venue, Assembly Hall, where the Hoosiers will play three straight unranked teams before the next big matchup, New Year's Eve against No. 11 Louisville.
THOUSAND POINTS OF LIGHT
The inbound play was only one of Chrabascz's contributions on a milestone day. The senior from Rhode Island scored 14 points, had three rebounds and four assists and became the 38th player in school history to score 1,000 career points. He has 1,007 in his career, and he may not be the last one to reach that milestone this season. Martin, a junior, has 965.
Indiana might be the nation's best 3-point shooting team over the past three seasons, averaging 9.6 per game during that span. But the Hoosiers weren't nearly that good Saturday, when they went 0 from 8 beyond the arc in the first half and finished 6 of 21. The six 3s is a season-low.
Butler Blue III, the Bulldogs' beloved mascot, returned to the court for the first time this season Saturday. Blue III had been rehabbing since October surgery to repair a torn ACL. But the dog looked quite happy to be on the court for player introductions and later expressed his happiness on his Twitter account: "DAWG GONE IT'S GOOD TO BE BACK!"
Butler: The Bulldogs put a 34-game home winning streak against nonconference opponents on the line Wednesday against Vermont.
Indiana: Tries to extend its home winning streak to 25 when Delaware State visits Monday.
Follow Michael Marot on Twitter @apmarot