Defense gives Butler 69-57 OT win over Marquette
The Bulldogs (11-7, 1-5 Big East) snapped a five-game losing streak and earned their first win in their new league. Three of the previous five losses came on their home court - all in overtime.
It was a dramatic turnaround. Butler trailed 40-28 with 16:13 to play, but used a late 15-3 run to take a 49-45 lead with 90 seconds left. Marquette tied the score with 4.6 seconds left when Jake Thomas made two free throws.
But the Bulldogs opened the overtime on a 12-2 run to pull away.
It was the latest chapter in this growing rivalry.
Last season, the teams split their two non-league games - Butler winning 72-71 on a buzzer-beating 3-pointer at the Maui Invitational with Marquette taking the rematch 74-72 in the second round of the NCAA tournament.
A lot has changed since they last played.
The Bulldogs' top two scorers, Rotnei Clarke and Andrew Smith graduated. Butler's No. 3 scorer, Roosevelt Jones, sustained a season-ending wrist injury on the team's summer tour in Australia. Head coach Brad Stevens left for the NBA, and, of course, Marquette and Butler now share a conference affiliation.
But the biggest change has been Butler's struggles.
The little school that captured America's hearts as the national runner-up in 2010 and 2011 came into Saturday 0-5 in league play for the first time since 1989-90 and it looked like they were headed for more trouble on their home court.
After taking a 2-0 lead, the Bulldogs spent the rest of the afternoon mostly playing catch-up. They didn't regain the lead until Dunham completed a three-point play to make it 46-45 with 4:04 left. When Marshall made one of two free throws with 90 seconds to go, Butler had a seemingly safe 49-45 edge.
But after Marquette got a fortunate bounce that rolled in after Jamil Wilson missed a dunk, Marshall missed two free throws and Alex Barlow inexplicably committed a foul near the top of the key. Thomas then sank the free throws to tie it, and Dunham's half-court heave to win in it regulation was well off the mark.
This time, though, the Bulldogs answered the challenge by scoring the first seven points of overtime and Marquette never challenged again.