Claremore Daily Progress

Sports

February 8, 2013

ATLANTIC-10 MEN'S BB: Clarke shoots Butler past St. Bonaventure

INDIANAPOLIS — Roosevelt Jones' pass was sailing high, almost too high for Khyle Marshall to grab the ball.

But Marshall swept the ball in with his left hand, hammering home a dunk to open the second half of No. 14 Butler's 77-58 win over St. Bonaventure on Wednesday.

The dunk spurred an already boisterous Hinkle Fieldhouse crowd.

"To be honest, it really wasn't that great of a pass," Marshall said. "I helped him out a little bit."

The Bulldogs (19-4, 6-2 Atlantic 10) did a good job of helping each other, spreading the offense among four double-digit scorers.

"The ball really whipped around today," Butler coach Brad Stevens said. "I thought there were a lot of good basketball plays today."

Rotnei Clarke, of Verdigris, led the Bulldogs with 17 points, with Andrew Smith scoring 13 and Marshall and Chase Stigall scoring 12 points each.

Stigall hit consecutive 3-pointers midway through the first half that pushed Butler from a 13-11 deficit to a 17-13 lead.

"When I came in, I didn't force anything. I just took what the defense gave me," Stigall said.

"He was great, you can kind of count on Chase to win you a couple games," Stevens said.

St. Bonaventure (10-11, 3-5) pulled within 24-23 on a 3-point play by Demitrius Conger with 6:14 left in the first half, but the Bulldogs used a 10-3 run in the final three minutes of the half to build a 39-30 lead.

"In order for us to win, we had to play our `A' game, and we certainly didn't," Bonnies coach Mark Schmidt said. "I think the game was won in the final three minutes of the first half.

"We made some errors, and they make you pay for your errors."

It didn't help that the Bonnies didn't get any second chances in the first half, failing to grab an offensive rebound. Butler outrebounded St. Bonaventure 17-7 in the first half and 34-25 for the game.

The victory pushed Butler into a share of the Atlantic 10 lead with idle VCU (6-2), while St. Bonaventure fell to 9-58 all-time against ranked teams, including an 0-29 record on the road.

Demitrius Conger led the Bonnies with 18 points. Chris Johnson and Marquise Simmons added nine points each for St. Bonaventure, which shot just 8 of 26 in the second half.

The Bonnies missed eight of their first 10 shots in the second half while Butler built its lead to 21 points at 56-35. St. Bonaventure wouldn't get closer than 14 points the rest of the way.

"The best part of holding them to that (in the second half) today was Roosevelt Jones didn't play the last 18 minutes," Stevens said. "If he's not our best defender, he's one of our best."

Jones went to the trainer's room after apparently injuring his shoulder. Stevens said Jones is "possible" for the Bulldogs' game at George Washington on Saturday.

"We're not going to practice too hard the next couple of days, so we'll have to wait until Saturday (to see if Jones can play)," Stevens said.

The Bulldogs will tweak their practice schedule to attend funeral services for Leonard Fromm, the father of Butler junior forward Erik Fromm.

Erik Fromm missed Butler's previous game, a win over Rhode Island, because of his father's death. He drew two standing ovations Wednesday night - when he entered the game in the first half and again when he hit a 3-pointer late in the victory.

"We love Erik, we support Erik," Marshall said. "He's like a brother to us. We are fortunate to have him there. Big compliments to his mom for moving the service back to Thursday so we could play this game.

"He's told me himself, basketball is something that really got him in the comfort zone."

The Bulldogs found their comfort zone as a team on Wednesday.

"I wouldn't like to guard us," Stigall said. "We've got so many options. A lot of times, if guys are helping out on Rotnei, our bigs are slipping toward the basket."

Butler shot 50 percent from the floor, with six players contributing to the Bulldogs' 11-of-26 showing from 3-point range. Clarke (3 of 8) and Stigall (3 of 5) each made three 3-pointers.

Meanwhile, the Bonnies were just 4 of 9 from beyond the arc.

 

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