Stevens' calm guides Butler to NCAA tourney win


The madness was marching towards Butler and Rupp Arena could feel it.

Bucknell was on a 19-2 run. They had gone from 11 points down to six points up in a matter of minutes. The Bisons had captured the momentum in the second half and the Bulldogs needed a time out.

Turns out, the drama hadn't reached Butler's huddle.

"It's calm and it starts with our coach," Rotnei Clarke said. "He's really calm, and he carries that over to us."

Brad Stevens' calm and confidence resulted in an 8-0 Butler run. Andrew Smith hit Butler's first three of the game. Moments later, Clarke hits his first three and the Bulldogs never look back.

Clarke scored 11 of his team-high 17 points late in the second half. Butler made 18 of their 20 free throws down the stretch to win 68-56.

Smith had a career-high 16 rebounds and added 14 points. Alex Barlow sparked Butler's defensive effort with four steals and added 10 points. The Bulldogs held Bucknell to only 14 first-half points. Mike Muscala, the Bisons all time leading scorer, had only nine points - he averages 19 points per game.

"We were really good today. I always tell people that if we aren't playing well on offense and we play good defense, we can still win every game," said Roosevelt Jones. "Today we didn't shoot so well, but luckily our defense bailed us out."

Butler has now won 11 of its last 13 games in the NCAA tournament.

The two losses? The national championship games in 2010 and 2011.

They advance to play Marquette on Saturday. Butler beat the buzzer to topple Marquette 72-71 in November. Both teams practice on Friday.

Tune in to Eyewitness News at 5 pm for live reports from Lexington.