Harris sinks game-winning FTs, Butler ousts Xavier in OT
NEW YORK (AP) — Chuck Harris was clutch for Butler, drilling a straightaway 3-pointer and then sinking the game-winning free throws with three seconds left in overtime as the tenth-seeded Bulldogs ousted Xavier 70-69 in the Big East tournament on Wednesday night.
The win moves Butler (10-14) into a quarterfinal against second-seeded and No. 17-ranked Creighton on Thursday. The teams split their regular-season games.
Xavier (13-8), the tournament seventh seed, shot the lights out in the first half, making 17 of 29 shots (59%) and building a 40-26 halftime lead.
Harris, who was 0-of-6 shooting by halftime, came alive with an early 3-pointer in the second half as Butler began a long climb back into the game. Bryce Golden added 20 points, with 12 in the second half, and Bryce Nze 19.
Dwon Odom and Zach Freemantle led Xavier with 14 points each, a career-high for Odom. Paul Scruggs and Colby Jones added 10 each.
Scruggs made two free throws to lift Xavier into a 69-68 lead with 18 seconds left in overtime. He had gone scoreless from 7:33 of the first half until the first minute of overtime.
Harris made a 3 to put Butler ahead 62-59, its first lead since 9-7. Bo Hodges added another 3 and it was 65-61. Counting a pair of free throws to force overtime at 59-59, Harris scored 10 of Butler’s last 13 points.
For a nine-minute span of the second half, Butler outscored Xavier 18-7. The Musketeers missed 12 of 15 shots in that stretch.
Nze, despite being listed as questionable to play because of an ankle injury, scored 13 of Butler’s 26 points in the first half. He made 7 of 9 shots including a career-high 4-of-4 shooting from behind the 3-point arc as Butler closed to 52-45 with 7:38 remaining, His last two 3s pulled Butler to 50-40 and then 52-45.
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