Butler Bulldogs fall to Marquette, 74-72

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Vander Blue scored 19 second-half points to rally third-seeded Marquette out of another hole, and the Golden Eagles survived the No. 6 Butler Bulldogs 74-72 on Saturday to reach the Round of 16.

Like November's first meeting between the teams at the Maui Invitational, won 72-71 by Butler on Rotnei Clarke's buzzer-beating 3-pointer, this was a back & forth, high-intensity affair, that came down to the final shot.

Only this time, Butler missed.

Marquette (25-8) will meet the winner of Sunday's game between Illinois and Miami (Fla.) on Thursday in Washington, D.C.

Clarke's 24 points led Butler (28-9).

Blue, the junior whose last-second layup edged Davidson on Thursday, led the Golden Eagles' rally from a 35-27 halftime deficit and tied the game at 69 on 3-pointer with 1:25 remaining.

In the end, Butler Coach Brad Steven's crew fell just short of a trip to the Sweet Sixteen, losing to Marquette 74-72.

Top performers for Butler were Rotnei Clarke (24 points) and Andrew Smith (17). Marquette's Vander Blue had 29 points and Trent Lockett had 13.

Saturday's third-round East Regional game was a rematch of November's Maui Invitational showdown, which Butler won 72-71 on Rotnei Clarke's buzzer-beating 3-pointer.

The Bulldogs (27-8) were coming off Thursday's 68-56 victory over Bucknell, where they rallied from a six-point deficit in the final 10 minutes.