Tough Defense Helps No. 19 Butler to Win over Cloud County

Tough Defense Helps No. 19 Butler to Win over Cloud County

EL DORADO, Kan. – A defensive slugfest of a game saw the No. 19 Butler Grizzlies pull out a 63-50 win over the Cloud County T-Birds at the Power Plant on Wednesday evening.

Butler (14-3, 9-2 KJCCC) and Cloud County (12-5, 7-4) entered the game as the KJCCC's top two defenses based on points per game allowed and the game showed that with buckets hard to come by for both teams at times.

The Grizzlies held Cloud to their season-low in scoring with just 50 points allowed. The T-Birds shot just 30.2% (16-53, season-low) from the field and 18.2% (4-22, season-low) from three. Butler fared a bit better offensively but still struggled, shooting 36.4% (20-55) from the field and 33.3% (7-21) from three-point distance. Butler was 16-24 (66.7%) from the free throw line while Cloud was 14-25 (56%). Both teams scored 24 points in the paint while turnovers and rebounds were nearly even.

The game got out to a slow start with the first score coming three minutes and eight seconds into the game with Butler's Kaleb Washington hitting an elbow jumpshot. The teams went back and forth over the first few minutes as the game was tied at seven with 14:41 to go in the first half. Grizzly guard Jaquez Thornton converted a layup and Anthony 'AJ' Williams nailed a three to put Butler ahead 12-7 with 13:06 to go in the first half and the Grizzlies never looked back, leading for the rest of the game.

Cloud hung tight for the whole first half. They trimmed the lead to three at 17-14 at the 7:50 mark but Butler had an answer as Jamichael Stillwell put in a layup. Cloud's Emmanuel Manyuon answered with a layup of his own, but Butler's Washington and Williams drained back-to-back three's to ignite the Grizzly faithful and put Butler ahead 25-16 with 6:13 to play in the half. The Grizzlies took a 32-21 lead into halftime.

Cloud County's Abdoulaye Fall opened the second half scoring with a three off an assist from Ja'Ron Briggs Jr.  Fall led the T-Birds with 18 points. Butler pushed its lead to 14 at the 15-minute mark as Williams knocked down another three. The 14-point lead was the largest of the game for the Grizzlies. Butler held a double-digit lead for the next seven minutes and thirty seconds until Manyuon hit a three for the T-Birds to make it 46-37 Butler with 7:31 to play. The closest the T-Birds got the rest of the way was eight points as Butler made free throws to close the win out.

Williams led Butler with 17 points on 5-12 shooting from three, also adding three rebounds and two steals. Stillwell grabbed 11 rebounds and scored eight. Jason 'Deuce' Drake led the Grizzlies with five assists. Charles McClennahan Jr. totaled 14 points and five rebounds.

The win for Butler was their seventh this season by double digits.

Butler travels to Arkansas City on Sunday to take on the No. 12-ranked Cowley Tigers at 3 p.m. from W.S. Scott Auditorium.