Grizzlies add another comeback win to their ledger this season with victory over Independence

Grizzlies add another comeback win to their ledger this season with victory over Independence

Story by Wyatt Ebersole

In what seems to be becoming a common theme, the Butler Men's Basketball team overcame another major second half deficit and stormed back to win the game, this time against the Pirates of Independence. The Grizzlies did not hold a lead in the first 19:21 of the second half and yet they managed to pull out a sensational win. The win propels the Grizzlies to 14-4 overall and moves them to 8-4 in conference play. Three straight wins for the Grizzlies to start 2023 have thrust them up all the way to second place in the Jayhawk Conference, trailing first place Dodge City by now just 2.0 games and tied with Coffeyville for second place. For Independence, the loss sends them to 6-12 overall and 4-8 in conference play. With the loss, the Pirates have now lost four of their last five games. 

The first half was very close and competitive with both sides not giving an inch and seemingly trading every basket. Neither side led by more than four points in the half, until the Grizzlies took a 32-27 lead after an Isaiah Williams layup. The Grizzlies would make that lead seven points on their next possession after a bucket from Treylon Payne and the Grizzlies would be up 38-30 with two minutes left, but after that the Pirates surged back. The Pirates ended the first half on an 11-2 run that was capped by a buzzer-beating three to give Indy a 41-40 halftime advantage. 

The Pirates didn't cool down at all in the second half and their 11-2 run ballooned into a 21-2 run and in seemingly the blink of an eye Butler was down by 11 points at 51-40 with 17:50 left to play. The Grizzlies of course, weren't going to go away. Over the next ten minutes, they would pull within four or five of the Pirates several times, but the Pirates seemed to always find a basket to keep the Grizzlies far enough away. Behind some big threes from Javon Grant, Butler would pull themselves within three points 9:21 left and again with 7:22 left, but both times, Indy would respond to go back up by two scores. Isaiah Williams slammed one in to pull the game within one for the first time since the final minute of the first half and after that, Williams found a basket to tie the game up at 77 with 2:43 left and momentum seemed like it was really on the Grizzlies side now. Indy went back up by four with 90 seconds left to play, but again, it was Williams on the other end with the answer. He had a monster and-1 layup that pulled Butler back within one point at 81-80. The Pirates would miss two free throws on their end and they fouled Williams who calmly sunk his two freebies to give Butler their first lead of the second half. Indy missed a go-ahead layup with 15 seconds left and they fouled Tahjae Hill to try and give themselves a shot to get the ball back. Hill would step to the line and make both big free-throws which proved to be the shots that sunk the Pirates' ship as Indy was forced to shoot a desperate three that was an airball and the Grizzlies had once again survived a double-digit, second half deficit.

The Grizzlies will be looking for a revenge shot on Wednesday when they travel to play the Colby Trojans, who's only win in Jayhawk Conference play this year is against the Grizzlies in El Dorado.

NOTES: Butler is now 2-1 against current Indy coach Justin Mann…Butler is now 10-11 against Independence since 2011…Head coach Kyle Fisher is 5-2 against Independence and he is 2-2 at Independence…This is the third time this season where the Grizzlies have won a game where they at some point trailed by double-digits