Grizzlies Erase 23-Point Deficit to Earn 2nd Win over Coffeyville This Season

Grizzlies Erase 23-Point Deficit to Earn 2nd Win over Coffeyville This Season

EL DORADO, Kan. – Facing a 23-point first half deficit against Coffeyville on Saturday afternoon in the Power Plant, the outlook for the rest of the game for the 22nd-ranked Butler men's basketball was not great.

However, the Grizzlies (17-4, 12-3 KJCCC) flipped the script in the second half. They outscored Coffeyville (9-13, 5-11) 51-22 to come away with a 14-point, 73-59 win.

The Red Ravens started the game making 6-of-7 three pointers in the first eight minutes of the game, taking a 25-8 lead that had the Grizzly fans in attendance stunned. They eventually pushed the lead to 23 at 33-10 with 9:22 to play in the first half, the largest lead of the game.

"They got off to a really hot start," said head coach Kyle Fisher. "We were really lethargic to start the game defensively."

Butler whittled the Coffeyville lead down to 15 by halftime. Jaquez Thornton made two layups down the stretch and Charles McClennahan Jr. put in a layup off an offensive rebound with 51 seconds to go to make it 37-22.

"We were able to cut the deficit from 23 to 15 which made it a lot more manageable for us."

Whatever the Butler coaching staff instilled in the players at the break worked to perfection.

"We challenged some of the guys at the break to come back out with more energy and excitement and what do you know, we start out on a 12-0 run in the second half and never looked back," said Fisher.

Butler did in fact come out on a 12-0 run in the first four minutes and thirty seconds of the second half, making it a 37-34 game. McClennahan poured in six points, Thornton four and Stillwell two during the stretch.

Stillwell hit two free throws at the 13:52 mark of the second half to give Butler its first lead of the game, 39-38.

The Grizzlies never trailed again. Butler outscored Coffeyville 34-21 over the final 12:48 to grab the 14-point victory.

"We were a tired group. Charles did not practice Thursday and Jamichael did not practice Friday, the sickness is going through the team right now," said Fisher. "As good as we played in the second half, it's hard to come back from 23 points down. It took a lot of energy and focus so we are a tired group right now."

McClennahan Jr. totaled 21 points and 12 rebounds, pacing Butler in scoring.

"He's really matured and come a long way," said Fisher. "He's picking his spots on the offensive end well. He plays hard and is rebounding better. He has worked on his craft and become a much better basketball player."

Stillwell led Butler with 14 rebounds, also adding 10 points and three assists. He now has 11 double-doubles on the year.

"He didn't practice yesterday because he was sick," Fisher said. "Threw up seven times last night but still came to play today. That's what he is made of. He got some big-time rebounds down the stretch."

Thornton had a near triple double with 10 points, nine rebounds and seven assists. Deuce Drake added nine points, two rebounds and two assists off the bench.

Coffeyville's Jahni Summers led all scorers with 23 points and seven rebounds. CJ Smith added 10 points, four rebounds and four assists and Jayven Cofer posted six rebounds and four assists.

The win for Butler was their sixth consecutive win over the Red Ravens as they completed the regular season sweep after defeating Coffeyville 56-51 at Nellis Hall on Nov. 29th. Fisher is now 7-4 facing off against his former boss, Coffeyville head coach Jay Herkelman.

Butler ultimately held Coffeyville to 33.9% (21-62) shooting from the field. The Grizzlies shot at a 50% (28-56) clip while knocking down 12-of-17 free throws. Coffeyville was 9-of-16 from the line. The Grizzlies had 38 points in the paint to Coffeyville's 20 and outrebounded them 43-35.

The next action for Butler is Wednesday, Feb. 7th, at 7:30 p.m. in Great Bend as they take on the No. 3 ranked Barton men.