Butler Men use big early start to down Hutchinson; win their fourth straight game

Butler Men use big early start to down Hutchinson; win their fourth straight game

Story by Wyatt Ebersole

It was a tense game down the stretch, but coach Kyle Fisher and the Butler Grizzlies held on to their big, 18-point first half lead to hand the Hutch Blue Dragons their fourth consecutive defeat. The win is the Grizzlies fourth straight and they are now 10-2 on the season and 4-2 in conference play. As mentioned, the loss is Hutch's fourth consecutive and drops them to 8-4 overall and 2-4 in conference play on the year.  

The Grizzlies trend of slow offensive starts to game, while playing great defense continued in this installment of the Butler/Hutch rivalry. Through the first 8 minutes, it was 12-10 in favor of the Grizzlies, with not a lot of baskets falling in either way, but that was about to change for the Grizzlies. Isaac Ondekane would get a big and-1 basket with 11:48 left in the first half. Isaiah Williams made a pair of free throws and then both he and Treylon Payne put in a layup to give the Grizzlies a 21-10 lead. A minute later, Caleb Golden showed off his athleticism as he threw down a monster put back dunk to increase the Grizzly lead to 13-points. A free throw and then jumper from Javon Grant and a layup from Tahjae Hill increased the Grizzlies lead to 18-points at 30-12. This forced a Hutch timeout with 6:26 left in the half and the Blue Dragons were searching for answers. The Blue Dragons and Grizzlies only managed to put in three points each over the next three minutes until Hutch's Kernan Bundy hit a three with 2:38 left to cut the Butler lead down to 33-18. The Grizzlies would trade a pair of baskets with Hutch, but the Blue Dragons scored five points in the final 15 seconds of the half to cut the Butler lead down to just 11 at the break. The Grizzlies were in control the entire half, leading for 18 of the first 20 minutes, and frustrating the Blue Dragons who couldn't seem to find any consistent offense as has been the case with most teams who have faced the Grizzlies under Kyle Fisher.  

Hutch came out of the locker room ready to play as they quickly bumped the Grizzly lead down to six, but Treylon Payne made a free throw and a pair of layups to move the lead back to 11. Butler led by 10 or 12 points for the next four minutes of play until Hutch's Antonio Green made two layups, one of which was an and-1 that cut the Butler lead to seven points with 12:29 to play. The Butler lead moved back to ten points at 54-44 three minutes later when Tahjae Hill converted a big and-1 layup. Hutchinson cut the Butler lead under seven points for the first time in over 20 minutes when Ty Frierson hit a three at the 7:40 mark to make the score 56-50. Hutch's Kernan Bundy slammed one home off of a steal and the momentum seemed to be turning the Blue Dragon's way and with one more stop and basket, it would be a one possession game. Isaac Ondekane wasn't having any of that as he found himself another and-1 layup which he converted into a three-point play, and the Grizzlies were back up by seven. With 4:40 left, Bundy slashed the Butler lead down to three points and it was back to a one possession game for the first time since the 11:49 mark of the first half. Caleb Golden and Trey Payne converted a pair of big-time layups that moved the Grizzlies lead to six points with 3:42 left in the game. Both sides continued to hold strong defensively, with neither side allowing a basket over the next 90 seconds of play. This drought was broken when Frierson made a tough layup to make it 66-61 Butler with 2:11 to go. Hutch would again move within one score of tying the game after a layup by Aaron Franklin and a pair of stops on defense, but Fisher's guys held strong and didn't allow a Hutchinson score the rest of the game and the Grizzlies walked off the court with a 68-63 win over their bitter rivals. 

The Grizzlies will have to ready themselves for another hard-fighting battle as the #10 ranked Dodge City Conquistadors come to town on Wednesday.

NOTES: Butler is 68-128 against Hutch all-time…Head coach Kyle Fisher is now 3-3 against Hutchinson in his career…Hutch has now lost four straight games, the first time this has happened since 2008-2009 season…63 points is the second fewest points the Blue Dragons have scored in a game in the Tommy DeSalme era at Hutch…Hutch's 37.1% shooting mark from the field in the game is the third worst shooting percentage in the DeSalme era at Hutch…Hutch came in to this game averaging 104.4 points per game, the second most in the nation