The Butler men fell short during a late second half rally In a 79-76 home loss to Seward County on Saturday.
Butler (8-10 overall, 5-10 conference) trailed by as many as 14 in the second half before making a late charge in the final 1:42 of the game.
Russell Smith finished with 18 points and seven rebounds for Butler, who had five players score in double figures.
The first half was closely contested with 11 ties and nine lead changes. Neither team had more than a three-point lead in the opening 20 minutes.
Butler led by three twice in the first half, the first coming when Justin Criddle hit a three-pointer at the 12:36 mark to a 14-11 Grizzly lead. Russell Smith made a jump shot with 6:46 before half to give Butler a 22-19 lead.
Seward's Jamel Horton scored the final four points of the half – including two free throws with two seconds left to give the Saints a 33-31 lead heading into the locker room.
Smith gave Butler its last lead of the contest when he was fouled on a made basket, then added the bonus free throw for a 36-35 advantage just two minutes into the second half.
Seward (12-7, 8-7) responded with a 9-0 run, ending on a three-pointer by Julian Santamaria that forced a Butler timeout.
Jared Armstrong hit treys on consecutive possessions to help Butler get within four, 48-44, at the 12:49 mark. However, Seward slowly built a 14-point lead over the next eight minutes, mostly by dominating the paint.
Down 74-63 with 1:44 to play, Butler cut the deficit to five on three-pointers by Karlon McSpadden and Adrian Moore. After a Seward turnover on the inbounds, McSpadden was fouled in the corner on a three-point attempt, giving Butler a chance to get within two points with
Unfortunately for the Grizzlies, McSpadden missed all three free throws. Seward would hit 5-of-8 from the line in the final minute to hold on for the win.
The Saints outshot Butler from the field, making 51.9 percent (27-of-52) while the Grizzlies connected on 43.4 percent (23-of-53). Seward controlled the lane, where they outscored Butler by a 32-12 margin.
Armstrong and Ketarrious Bouchum came off the bench to score 13 and 12 points, respectively. McSpadden finished with 11, while Moore added 10.
Ke'Sean Davis led Seward with 20 points and 12 boards, while Isiah Small had 18.
Butler will next host Barton on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. The Grizzlies will be looking to split the season series with Barton, who defeated Butler 91-82 back on Nov. 18 in Great Bend.