Butler men sets school record with 14th conference win

Butler men sets school record with 14th conference win

The Butler men's basketball team set a new record with its 14th conference victory Wednesday with a 74-63 victory over Dodge City at the Power Plant, then followed the win with a net cutting ceremony to celebrate the 2015 Jayhawk West conference championship.

Grizzly freshman Chris Howell finished with 21 points, 14 rebounds and five assists to lead Butler (28-2 overall, 14-2 conference play). Travis House added 13 points and Reed Rowell scored a career-high 12 points.

The Grizzlies' 14 conference wins breaks the mark set by the 2000-01 and 2009-10 teams, which both went 13-3 in Jayhawk West play.

Butler led for most of the first half, using an early 13-2 run to build a nine-point lead. Rowell and Howell each hit two field goals, while Caelan Neal's trey from the left wing at the 12:15 mark put the Grizzlies up 15-6.

The Grizzlies took their largest lead of the half at 11:04 when Travis House hit a three-pointer. Dodge would cut the margin to four just under a minute before the break, but Derrick Byrd's trey with nine seconds left gave Butler a 33-26 lead at halftime.

A Dodge City 13-2 run midway through the second half put the visitors up 41-37 with 12:11 to play, but the Grizzlies would strike back quickly.

Trailing 45-41, Chris Howell answered with a layup, then Reed Rowell hit two foul shots with 10:08 left to tie the game. Jacolby Harris then put Butler up 47-45 with a drive to the basket for a layup at the 8:43 mark.

Up 51-50 with 6:24 left, Butler made an 11-0 run to create some breathing room. Travis House drained a three-pointer from the left wing, then was fouled while shooting on the perimeter on the next possession. House hit all three foul shots, Wofford made a lay-up and a Kyle Steward jumper from the baseline gave Butler a 61-50 lead with 4:47 to play.

Dodge would come back as close as four points when Peyton Pervier's tip-in with :36.8 seconds left, but Butler's defense and clutch foul shooting resulted in an 8-1 run to end the game.

Pervier, a 7-1 freshman who has committed to Old Dominion, led all scorers with 24 points, along with 12 rebounds and four blocks for Dodge City (17-13, 7-9).

Butler will have a first-round bye in the Region VI Tournament and face the Independence-Seward County winner in a quarterfinal contest Thursday, March 5 at 1 p.m. at Wichita State's Koch Arena. Independence, the Jayhawk East No. 4 seed, will host West No. 5 seed Seward in an opening round match on Saturday at 4 p.m.