Story by Kalon Fullerton
The Butler Grizzlies won their tenth conference game of the season and extended their winning streak to five games as they defeated the Seward Saints, staving off a late comeback attempt with a 69-63 victory at the Power Plant on Saturday afternoon.
The Grizzlies led by 17 points in the fourth quarter but a fiery rally by the Saints cut the lead to 64-63. Butler scored the final five points of the contest, all of them coming from the free throw line, to preserve the victory.
Butler was led by Jaila Harding and Freddie Wallace, as the duo provided a huge lift for Mike Helmer's squad. Harding led the team with 17 points while Wallace came close with 16. Syncere Harrod came off the bench and reached double figures as well, scoring 10 points.
It was the the defense that won the game for the Grizzlies as they held the Saints to just 32% from the field and held Seward to their lowest three point shooting percentage of the season, as the Saints made just six of their 31 attempts from deep. Butler forced 19 turnovers including 12 steals, making it the 11th game this season where the Grizzlies forced 10 or more steals. Six different players forced a steal for the Grizzlies, led by Jada Knight who forced three. The Grizzlies also won the battle on the glass, finishing the game with 49 boards, outrebounding Seward by 13. Freddie Wallace earned a double double as she led the Grizzlies on the glass with 10. It's her fifth double double of the year and her fifth game reaching double figures in rebounds.
The Grizzlies shot just 35% from the field and made just three of their 15 attempts from deep. Butler dominated in the paint, however, scoring 42 points in the paint compared to just 14 from the Saints. The Grizzlies were also helped by 26 bench points and six second chance points. Jada Knight led the Grizzlies in assists with five, as Butler combined for 17.
Butler improves to 15-3 on the year and they collect their 10th conference win of the season. Next up for the Grizzlies will be a make-up of the postponed game earlier in the week, as Butler will travel to Colby on Tuesday, hoping to complete a sweep of the Trojans as they beat Colby in the Power Plant by 43 points in the first conference game of the season in November.