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Howard's buzzer-beater lifts Butler past ODU

Mar 17, 2011 - 10:29 PM Washington, DC (Sports Network) - Matt Howard's putback at the buzzer finished off a wild back-and-forth contest, as 2010 NCAA Tournament runner-up Butler edged Old Dominion, 60-58, in second round action of the 2011 event.

Kent Bazemore's two free throws with 32 seconds remaining pulled ODU even at 58-58, but the Bulldogs got a final chance. With time winding down, Shawn Vanzant held the ball until the clock ticked down to single digits before making his move.

As Vanzant drove toward the basket, the ball was knocked away before Andrew Smith tipped it off the glass. Howard grabbed the ball at the left side of the basket and converted the layup just prior to the final buzzer. The play was briefly reviewed, but upheld after replays showed the senior forward released the ball in time.

"I think a lot of credit has got to go to Andrew (Smith)," Howard said. "He made a great play keeping it alive. And my guy I think went with him on that jump. And it's pretty easy when it's just you and the ball and the rim. I was thinking that there wasn't going to be any time. I was trying to get up as quickly as possible, and fortunately we had just enough time."

Howard finished with 15 points and five rebounds, while Shelvin Mack went for 15 points and five assists for Butler (24-9), the No. 8 seed in the Southeast Region. Smith had 11 points and seven boards for the victors.

Butler will now face top-seeded Pittsburgh in the third round on Saturday.

The Bulldogs, who were the surprise team of the tournament after a stirring and memorable run to the championship game in 2010, famously falling inches short on Gordon Hayward's failed half-court heave at the buzzer against Duke.

Butler got into the field of 68 by claiming its second straight Horizon League Tournament crown and third in four years.

Frank Hassell led all scorers with 20 points to go with five rebounds for Old Dominion, the ninth-seed in the Southeast Region (27-7), which returned to the NCAA Tournament after coming off its second consecutive Colonial League title.

"I couldn't be prouder of our group," Old Dominion head coach Blaine Taylor said. "If you look at the stat sheet, all you see is heart and grind because we just had to grind it out to get to where we were in the game, and then at the end to be sitting there in position for overtime, pretty good performance on our part."

ODU led by two after 20 minutes and things stayed tight for the entire second half, in a game that featured 21 lead changes.

Butler led by six, 58-52, with 2:43 remaining before two makes by Hassell and Bazemore's two at the stripe tied things prior to the dramatic ending.

In a back-and-forth opening half that the lead changed hands 12 times, Darius Jones hit from long distance to put ODU up 21-17 with 7:45 remaining in the half, but Vanzant drained a triple nearly 2 1/2 minutes later to give Butler a 22-21 edge and things would fluctuate from there.

Then tied at 27-all in the closing seconds, Hassell's offensive rebound and putback gave the Monarchs a 29-27 advantage heading into the locker room.

Game Notes

This was the third meeting between the two schools. Butler claimed a 57-46 win in the opening-round of the NCAA Tournament in 2007. Their other meeting also came in the postseason during the 1999 NIT tournament, which Butler also won...Keyon Carter had nine points for ODU, which shot 35.6 percent from the field and 5-of-15 from three-point range...Butler made 40.7 percent of its shots and 7-of-26 from long range.