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Texas Tech v Butler

Source: Michael Hickey / Getty

INDIANAPOLIS — The Butler Bulldogs made a huge case for being back in contention to compete in the Big East on Thursday with a 103-95 win over Texas Tech.

The match-up, inside Hinkle Fieldhouse, was a part of the newly annual Big East-Big 12 Battle between teams of the two respective conferences. It was a match-up that many said Butler would not be able to win had this been last year.

“Big, big win for our program,” said head coach Thad Matta. “There is no doubt about that. There is a lot of work that these guys have put in not only as a team but individually. To see them get this type of win in that type of environment, Hinkle was rocking tonight. I’m proud of these guys.”

Butler started the game slowly as Texas Tech got out to the early lead. But, the Dawgs found their rhythm after the first under-16 media timeout and would go on to lead most of the way into the 2nd half.

The Dawgs were led in scoring on the night by Jehmyl Telfort who finished with 26 points. Telfort said he’s glad to finally be finding some consistency in his game as he shot 10-of-16 from the field.

“My teammates always tell me to stay aggressive and just make the right reads,” Telfort said. “I know Coach has been big on it. He says ‘when you just read the game that’s when we are at our best.’ Just reading the game.”

The Red Raiders clawed back as time wound down in the second half going on a 21-5 run. They grabbed the lead for the first time since that early first-half surge with just 6 minutes left in regulation. Trading jabs, the second half ended with both teams locked at 83 apiece.

In overtime, Butler took command of the game with 3:50 left in the extra period and never trailed again going on a 9-0 run that put the game away for the Dawgs.

“We are still learning, these guys,” said Matta of his team’s offensive effort. “We have to keep building through tonight. The guys did a great job executing (on offense). That’s gotta be who we are. We have to play hot hands.”

At 6-2, this is the best start that Butler has had under Matta’s second stint with Butler. The last time they had a record as good or better than this at this juncture was in 2019 when they started their campaign 9-0.

The Bulldogs hope to keep the hand hot next Tuesday when they welcome Buffalo to Hinkle Fieldhouse in the second of what is a five-game home stand for Butler.