PARK CITY, Kan. - In another epic classic between two rivals, the Butler men missed a chance to extend their season in a 105-103 loss to No. 2 Hutchinson in Tuesday's Region VI semifinal at Hartman Arena.
Grizzly freshman LaJuan Hardy led all scorers with 30 points - including 23 second-half points to help Butler (19-13) erase a 13-point deficit, but missed a potential game-tying layup in the final seconds.
The loss was the second time in three seasons Butler had its season end in the Region VI semifinals by the Blue Dragons (31-1), who advanced to Wednesday's championship game against Coffeyville.
Butler held a 20-9 lead just over five minutes into the contest, but Hutchinson would grab the lead back after the midway point of the half. A Blue Dragon 12-2 run swung the momentum back, which helped Hutchinson go up 51-43 at the break.
Hutchinson quickly opened the second half with a three-pointer and field goal by James Conley to take a 13-point advantage and its largest lead of the contest.
With the Grizzliies trailing 63-52, Hardy hit the first of four straight treys, sparking a 17-3 Butler run. Johnnathan Lindsey, who finished with a season-high 29 points and pulled down 11 rebounds, followed with a three-pointer and a dunk to put the Grizzlies up 69-66 with 12:04 to play.
Midway through the half, Lindsey would score 10 straight points for the Grizzlies and his three-pointer with 8:57 remaining gave Butler a 81-74 lead. Hutchinson battled back to tie the game at 83-all at the 6:25 mark, but a Hardy trey and an Antferene Adams dunk put Butler back in front by five.
The Blue Dragons finally re-took the lead at 94-93 on a Shakur Juiston dunk with 2:57 to play. Samaje Haynes-Jones and Devonte Bandoo then made back-to-back three-pointers to give Hutch a 100-96 lead.
Down by three, Butler's Will Adler hit a three-pointer from the corner to tie the game with 1:18 remaining. After Bandoo made 1-of-2 foul shots, Lindsey hit a pull-up jumper to put Butler back in front. Bandoo responded with a trey with 28 seconds left.
Hutch's JJ Rhymes then missed two free throws and Lindsey was fouled pulling down a rebound on the second miss, sending him to the foul line for a potential tie with nine seconds to play. A failed second attempt by Lindsey and a quick foul put Rhymes back at the line, making the first but missing the second to set up Butler's last chance.
Adams rebounded the miss and passed the ball to Hardy, who had an opportunity for a layup but left it short to end the game.
Hutchinson (31-1) was led in scoring by Rhymes, who finished with 28 points and 11 rebounds. Juiston added 24 points and 12 boards.
Both teams shot evenly on the night, as Hutch shot 52.7 percent (39 of 74) while Butler made 52.1 (38 of 73). Butler connected on 16 of 30 three-point shots, while Hutchinson hit 9 of 18. The Dragons made just 18 of 32 foul shots (56.3 percent), but managed to double up Butler on free-throw attempts, as the Grizzlies hit 11 of 16 (68.8 percent).
NOTES: Lindsey finished with his seventh double-double of the season... Butler falls to 4-12 all-time against Hutchinson in the Region VI playoffs... The 208 combined points are the most scored in the overall history between Butler and Hutchinson. The previous high was 195 points in 1992.