The Butler men held on at the end to earn a hard-fought 65-60 win over Cowley County in the Jayhawk East Conference opener for both teams on Wednesday night at the Power Plant.
The Grizzlies were in firm control of the contest in the first half, leading by as many as 13 after a layup by Sean Goodwin with 2:51 to play in the period. At the half, the Grizzlies were still up double digits with a 36-26 lead.
Cowley began to mount its comeback early in the second half. The Tigers would take advantage of a Butler technical foul to get within three points and later would tie the game 46-46 after a 3-pointer by Naquavious King with 9:27 to play.
Nearly two minutes later, Butler broke the tie on a 3-pointer by Dominique O'Connor with 7:43 to go to make it 49-46. Cowley would get back within a point late, but Shomari Triggs made a floater from just outside the paint with 58 seconds to play to make it a 59-56 game.
Triggs then made all six free throws he attempted in the final minute as the Grizzlies outlasted the Tigers at the end.
Triggs led Butler with 22 points in the game, 14 of which came from the free throw line. O'Connor had 12 points while Goodwin had 11 as the three Grizzlies in double figures. Cowley's King led all scorers with 27 points in the contest.
The Grizzlies are now 15-4 on the season and 1-0 in Jayhawk East Conference play. Cowley is now 9-8 overall and 0-1 in conference play. Butler's next action is on the road Saturday at Coffeyville, which is 14-5 overall and 0-1 in conference after a home loss to Allen County on Wednesday.