No. 17 Grizzlies Pull Out Gritty Road Win at Colby

No. 17 Grizzlies Pull Out Gritty Road Win at Colby

COLBY, Kan. – No. 17 Butler men's basketball went on the road and took down Colby 78-66 at the Colby Event Center on Saturday, picking up a bounce back win after dropping a game to Hutchinson on Wednesday.

The Grizzlies (11-3, 6-2 KJCCC) are now 4-1 on the road this season with the only road loss coming at No. 20 Moberly Area CC in the second game of the season. They are undefeated on the road in KJCCC play. Colby (5-9, 1-7 KJCCC) lost its fourth consecutive game.

"Any road win is a good win," said head coach Kyle Fisher. "We really established a presence in the paint early which is always important for us."

Butler outscored Colby 40-28 in the paint and shot 28-54 (51.9%) from the field compared to Colby's 23-55 (41.8%). They also doubled up the Trojans rebounding wise, 34-17.

"That was a big point of emphasis for us (rebounding)," said Fisher. "I gave our guys no excuses and said we should dominate on the glass."

The Grizzlies jumped out to an 8-2 lead before Colby came firing back, cutting the Butler lead to 12-8. Colby took its first and only lead with 8:07 left as Alec Carlson made a three to put them ahead 21-20. AJ Williams proceeded to make a three on the Grizzlies next possession out of a timeout to put them right back ahead. The first half was close throughout, but Jamichael Stillwell delivered down the final three minutes to give Butler some cushion. He converted a layup and free throw after getting fouled, and then put in two more free throws a few possessions later to put Butler ahead by nine, 33-24, with 2:22 to play in the half. The game went to halftime with Butler leading 35-27.

Colby came out hot to start the second half, opening on a 7-2 run to make it a three-point game at 37-34. Jaquez Thornton then hit a three for Butler, Charles McClennahan Jr. converted an and one and Stillwell put in a layup to put the Grizzlies up by 11 at 45-34. Colby held Butler scoreless for nearly four minutes and turned a 45-34 Grizzly lead to 45-41 off a 7-0 run with 12:58 to play. That was the closest the Trojans would get for the remainder of the game as once again, Williams drained a three to put a stop to the Colby run. The Grizzlies led by double digits for the final 10 minutes of the game, closing out the road win. Colby was able to stay in the game due to their timely and efficient three-point shooting. They shot 44.4% (8-18) from deep. Butler also turned the ball over a season-high 20 times which led to easy buckets for the Trojans.

"I was pleased with the way we played in the second half," said Fisher. "Obviously the one thing we really have to clean up is our turnovers."

Stillwell was impressive for Butler again, notching his eighth double-double of the season with 16 points and 10 rebounds. McClennahan Jr. tallied a game and career-high 21 points on 10-14 shooting to go with five rebounds. Williams scored 12 points, shooting 4-10 from distance. Jaquez Thornton posted nine points and two assists in his second game of action for Butler this season after making his debut vs. Hutchinson on Wednesday. Colby was led by Raphael Nagau-Trouart's 20 points. D'Necco Rucker had 18 points and Maxence Massadila had 11 points, three assists and three steals for the Trojans.

"Charles and Jamichael were really efficient for us," Fisher said.  "I hope our guys realize we have to play through the post and go inside out. That's what led us to a good shooting day on the road today."

Butler will host the Independence Pirates on Wednesday, Jan. 10, at the Power Plant with tipoff set for 7:30 p.m. CT. The game can be streamed on or the BCTV+ app. You can also hear the radio broadcast on 97.5 and 1240 KFH with Dennis Higgins providing play-by-play.