Butler holds on late to win at home over Cloud County

Butler holds on late to win at home over Cloud County

The 19th ranked Butler Grizzlies got back to their winning ways after two losses on the road against top ten teams, defeating Cloud County in a nailbiter, 72-69. 

The Grizzlies improve to 10-3 on the year, and 5-3 in conference play. The win will also mean that the Grizzlies remain undefeated at home, and it's the eighth straight victory over Cloud County. 

It was close throughout. A hot shooting start from the Thunderbirds meant that the Grizzlies trailed for most of the first half, stretching the lead to as many as 10. Keyon Thomas hit three straight threes to restore the lead for the Grizzlies, but the two teams went into the break tied at 35.

The second half was just as close. The Grizzlies stretched the lead to five but could never quite pull away, as the T-birds hit a basket to take a one point lead with 2:00 to play. The biggest play of the game came with 39 seconds remaining, as Treylon Payne stripped the ball away from a Cloud City player on the defensive end and streaked down the court to lay it in, giving the Grizzlies a decisive lead. A last second Cloud City three pointer that would've tied the game missed, and the Grizzlies escaped with a three point victory.

The Grizzlies had three players finish with double digits, led by Marque English for the third straight game, who finished with 16 points. Keyon Thomas scored 15 and Jaden Okon finished with 13. Butler got just 12 points from their bench but Keyon Thomas' key three pointers gave the Grizzlies the jumpstart they needed in the first half. The Grizzlies were outshot, finishing at a 40% clip from the field, and just 5-15 from the field, but they picked up the slack at the free throw line, finishing 78% from the charity stripe, while Cloud made just 52% of their trips to the line. Butler also picked up 26 points from the paint.

Defensively, the Grizzlies forced 14 turnovers and also scored 14 points off of those takeaways. The Grizzlies narrowly outrebounded the Thunderbirds 33-30, led by Okon's 14, giving up just eight second chance points.

The Grizzlies will hope to finish 2021 off with a win when they travel to Great Bend on Monday to face the Barton Cougars at 7:30pm.