PROVIDENCE, R.I. — The Butler Bulldogs were supposed to fly into Providence the night before their game with the Friars. But, mechanical issues with their plane squashed those plans.
Tired, jet-lagged, and mentally exhausted no less, the Bulldogs took off from Indy at 7:30 this morning for a Noon tipoff in Rhode Island.
The Dawgs started the game like a team that had just gotten off the plane.
The Friars opened the Big East conference match-up on a 15-0 run while Butler missed each of their first 13 shot attempts in the opening five minutes. It appeared to spell how the day would go for the Bulldogs. Not so, however, as the Dawgs down 33-19 with 6:07 left in the 1st half, began to reel the Friars back in slowly.
An 11-0 Bulldogs run late fueled by the outside shooting of DJ Davis in the half cut the Friars’ lead to just two points with two minutes left.
Rejuvenated by their late run in the first half, the Dawgs stayed toe-to-toe with Providence for much of the second half as both teams traded jabs and lead changes. Both teams shot an identical 41-percent in the second half.
As the game wore on, the Dawgs had less and less of an answer for Friars’ big man Josh Oduro, who finished the day with a double-double of 19 points and 14 rebounds.
He dominated the glass, but Butler would not go away with the efforts of Davis from the outside and Pierre Brooks III from the inside.
Butler would lead by as many as many as three with five minutes left, forcing Providence to burn the last of their timeouts in regulation. Oduro made Butler earn every basket in the paint as did Jahmyl Telfort on the other end.
Up by three with 10 seconds remaining off of crucial free throws from Davis, Butler surrendered a buzzer-beating three to Davonte Gaines of Providence to tie the game and force overtime.
The Friars’ hot shooting carried over to the OT period as Devin Carter scored all ten of Providence’s 16 points as Butler simply ran out of gas in an 85-75 defeat.
Davis led the way for the Bulldogs with 22 points. Brooks added 20 of his own.
The loss is Butler’s third of the year and their first in Big East play. Now 10-3, the Bulldogs will return to Indy for the holiday and then head back out east on January 2nd as they will face St. Johns to continue Big East play.
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