No. 16 Providence rallies late, downs No. 18 Butler 71-68

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Ben Bentil scored 13 of his 20 points in the second half, and 16th-ranked Providence rallied late to outlast No. 18 Butler 71-68 on Tuesday night.

Rodney Bullock added 16 points for the Friars (16-3, 4-2 Big East), who improved to 3-1 this season against ranked opponents. It was Providence’s second victory over Butler this season.

The Friars fought through some early foul trouble and poor shooting to overcome a four-point deficit in the closing minutes.

On Butler’s final possession, Kelan Martin missed a 3-pointer, the Bulldogs got the rebound and Kellan Dunham fired up a desperation 3 at the buzzer that missed everything.

Dunham led Butler (13-5, 2-4) with 21 points, including six 3-pointers, while Roosevelt Jones added 16.

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The Bulldogs have lost four straight games to ranked foes.

Providence’s Drew Edwards connected on one of two free throws to tie the game for the 12th time at 66 with 2:44 to play.

Following a Butler miss, the Friars took the lead for good after a scramble for the ball ended up in the hands of Bentil, who slammed in a two-handed dunk.

An errant pass led to a turnover on Butler’s next possession, and Kris Dunn banked in a 3-pointer that made it 71-66 with 1:04 left.

The Bulldogs held the Big East’s two leading scorers, Bentil and Dunn, to 12 points in the first half. Dunn finished with nine. They entered the night averaging 19 and 17 points, respectively.

While Dunn was saddled with first-half foul trouble, Bentil had a tough time early converting on the looks he got as Butler sent extra defenders at him.

It led to some stagnant possessions at times for the Friars, who were forced into some hurried shots.

Neither team managed to get much separation in the first half.

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TIP-INS

Butler: Had a 15-7 advantage in bench scoring. … Shot 51 percent in the second half (14 for 27). … Had 13 turnovers.

Providence: Holds a 4-1 lead in the series with the Bulldogs. … Shot 5 of 22 from the 3-point line.

UP NEXT

Butler is at Creighton on Saturday.

Providence is at No. 4 Villanova on Saturday.