The Butler men battled back and forth with No. 2 Hutchinson for 25 minutes Wednesday night before a 15-0 second half run helped the Blue Dragons to an 81-67 win at the Power Plant.
With the loss, Butler (13-3 overall, 1-1 Jayhawk West) had its nine-game winning streak snapped and suffered its first home loss of the season. Sophomore Eric Watson led Butler with 15 points and five rebounds, while Sean Osler and Jordan Madrid-Andrews had nine points each.
The first half saw the two rivals exchange leads 13 times and have six ties. Butler had an early 6-2 advantage before Hutchinson went on a 9-0 run. With 14:08 left in the half, the Grizzlies would start a 9-0 run of their own, capped by a Trent Richardson dunk to take a 17-15 edge just midway through the half.
Butler appeared to get a little breathing room when Sean Osler hit a three-pointer with 3:20 before the break to put the Grizzlies up 31-27. Ja'ln Williams added four quick points as Butler led 35-31 in the final minute of the first half, but Hutchinson's A.J. Spencer would convert a three-point play. Following a Butler miss, Kadeem Allen banked a ¾-court shot at the buzzer to put Hutch up 37-35.
The Grizzlies would exchange baskets with Hutch for the opening five minutes of the second half before Hutch grabbed control of the contest. Down 49-47 with just under 16 minutes to play, Hutchinson went on a 15-0 run to pull away. After nearly an eight-minute scoring drought, Butler could not recover and only came within 12 points of the Dragons. Hutchinson led by as many as 19 points in the contest.
Butler will square off against another top-10 opponent on Saturday, as the Grizzlies travel to Great Bend to face the No. 9 Barton Cougars. Tip-off is 8 p.m.