Butler men use strong second half to beat Cloud, 90-76

Butler men use strong second half to beat Cloud, 90-76

CONCORDIA, Kan. — The Butler men powered its way to a 90-76 victory over Cloud County on Wednesday behind a hot shooting second-half performance.

Butler (12-13 overall, 9-13 conference) had a balanced attack as five players scored in double figures while handing Cloud its eighth straight loss. Guards Jared Armstrong and Karlon McSpadden were identical on the stat sheet with 19 points, six assists and four rebounds. Ketarrious Bouchum added 16 points, while Russell Smith and Anthony Bratton scored 14 and 13, respectively.

The Grizzlies, who outscored Cloud 18-6 in the final five minutes, hit 55 percent (19-of-34) from the field while scoring 61 points in the second half.

With the score tied 50-all midway through the second half, Butler made a quick 5-0 run that ended on a Justin Criddle layup. Armstrong and Bouchum followed with three-pointers to extend the Grizzlies' lead to 61-54.

Cloud (6-19, 4-18) would close within two, 65-63, with under eight minutes remaining, but a dunk by Bouchum and a McSpadden trey pushed Butler's lead back to six.

Up 72-68 with 5:10 to play, Armstrong started a Grizzly 8-0 run with a layup and three-pointer, then Russell Smith added a jumper and went 1-for-2 from the foul line to push the margin to double digits for the first time in the contest.

The first half was closely contested with six ties and eight lead changes. The close pace continued into the second half, as the lead changed hands seven times before Butler pulled away.

Both teams shot well, as Butler made 45.5 percent (30-of-66) to Cloud's 44.8 (26-of-58). The Grizzlies excelled at the foul line by making 81.5 percent (22-of-27) and out-rebounded Cloud 43-32.

Butler will host Pratt (12-14, 9-13) in a 7:30 p.m. contest Saturday at the Power Plant. The Grizzlies rolled to a 128-107 road win over Pratt back on Jan. 3.