Hutchinson holds off Butler 77-75 in Region VI semifinal

Hutchinson holds off Butler 77-75 in Region VI semifinal

WICHITA, Kan. – Hutchinson got a bucket with one second to play and a desperation heave by Butler rimmed out at the buzzer as the Blue Dragons outlasted Butler 77-75 in the Region VI semifinals on Friday at Charles Koch Arena on the Wichita State campus.

Butler, down by 11 points in the second half, rallied to tie the game on a bucket by Chris Howell with 16.2 seconds to play. Butler defended well as time ran out, but Deshawn Freeman was able to get up a contested shot that spun on the rim and rolled in. With one second on the clock, Butler inbounded to Chris Howell. His three-quarter court shot bounced off the backboard and the rim as the game ended.

With the win, No. 23 Hutchinson will play in the championship game tomorrow night against Dodge City. Butler is now 29-3. The seventh-ranked Grizzlies will await a possible at-large berth to the national tournament.

Butler battled to get back in the game, trailing most of the night. The Grizzlies had just three leads in the game, the biggest coming when Adrion Williams hit a 3-pointer with 9:18 to play that made the score 17-14.

Butler's last lead was at 19-18 after a Chris Howell bucket with 7:12 to go in the contest. The Grizzlies trailed by as many as 10 in the first half and were down 38-31 at halftime.

In the second half, Hutchinson built an 11-point lead with 11:24 to play before Butler started to chip away at the deficit.

The Grizzlies got within one point after a Chris Howell bucket with 5:52 to go made it 68-67, but gave up four straight and Hutch led 72-67.

Butler again surged, getting within two after a Derrick Byrd free throw with 55.1 seconds left. After Butler got a stop on defense, Chris Howell scored the bucket to tie it, setting the stage for Hutchinson's game winner.

Howell led all scorers in the game with 20 points and also had 15 rebounds, his third straight double-double and fifth of the season.  Jacolby Harris had 16 points, Lamar Wofford had 13 and Kyle Steward had 10. Bashier Ahmed and Deshawn Freeman led Hutchinson with 15 apiece.