Strong 2nd Half Leads No. 20 Butler Over Independence

Strong 2nd Half Leads No. 20 Butler Over Independence

EL DORADO, Kan. – The No. 20 ranked Butler Grizzlies used an impressive second half to pick up a 77-55 win over the Independence Pirates on Wednesday evening at the Power Plant.

Butler (12-3, 7-2 KJCCC) picked up its second straight win and sits in fourth place in the KJCCC standings. Indy (1-14, 0-10 KJCCC) lost its 14th consecutive game.

It was a slow start for the Grizzlies who saw Indy jump out to a 6-2 lead just a minute into the game. They battled back to tie the game at seven and it was back-and-forth through the rest of the half. Indy's Keah Paljor hit a three with 4:28 left in the first half to make it 30-24 Pirates, their largest lead of the half. Butler went on an 11-3 run to close the half out, taking the 35-33 lead into the break.  

Butler's Charles McClennahan Jr. had 15 points and six rebounds at halftime, while Jamichael Stillwell had six points and seven rebounds. The Grizzlies were 13-40 (32.5%) from the field and 0-8 from three. Indy shot 5-18 (27.8%) from three.

The second half was all Butler. They shot 8-13 from distance in the half as well as outrebounding Indy 26-13.

The Pirates got as close as one point at 41-40 with 13:03 to play after Trey Stanback made a layup. Following that, Butler's Kaleb Washington drained a three off an assist from AJ Williams and the Grizzlies proceeded to go on a 34-9 run over the next 12 minutes, making it 75-49 with 1:47 to play. The 26-point lead was the largest of the game.

"Our offensive execution in the second half was a lot better," said head coach Kyle Fisher. "We ran better offense, made the extra pass, got paint touches and played the way that we need to."

McClennahan Jr. totaled 19 points and 10 rebounds. Stillwell had his ninth double-double of the season, putting up 17 points and 14 rebounds, also adding four assists. Williams tallied 12 points and four assists, Jaquez Thornton had nine points, five rebounds and four assists and Kaleb Washington totaled seven points, seven rebounds and four assists.

"Charles (McClennahan Jr.) kept us in it in the first half," said Fisher. "He was the bright spot for us because he was finishing around the basket. Indy shoots a lot of three's which means a lot of high, long rebounds and you aren't going to beat out Jamichael (Stillwell) for many of those with his intensity."

Indy's Cory Curtis Jr. led all scorers with 22 points on 8-24 shooting, 4-9 from deep. BJ Williams had nine points and six rebounds while Tyland Holdman led the Pirates with eight rebounds.

The Grizzlies outrebounded Indy 53-37. The 53 rebounds were the second highest total this season, behind the 58 they grabbed vs. Kansas Wesleyan's JV squad on Nov. 10th. Indy turned the ball over 16 times to Butler's 12, and Butler outscored the Pirates 36-18 in the paint.

"We're headed in the right direction," said Fisher. "We need to get healthy and get more consistent guard play so that we can execute against good defensive teams."

Butler returns to action on Saturday at 4 p.m. as they travel to the Beaver Dome to take on Pratt.

"It's going to be a battle