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Butler shocks Pitt on last-second FT

Mar 20, 2011 - 3:29 AM Washington, DC (Sports Network) - Two games, two nail-biters for Butler with Matt Howard coming up the hero both times, and on Saturday the Bulldogs knocked off No. 1 seed Pittsburgh in controversial fashion.

Howard made one free throw with 0.8 seconds left to lift eighth-seeded Butler to a 71-70 win over the Panthers, the first ouster of a top-seeded team at this year's NCAA Tournament.

Butler, which was coming off a 60-58 win over Old Dominion thanks to Howard's putback at the buzzer, got a layup from Andrew Smith with 2.2 seconds remaining. That moved the Bulldogs to a 70-69 lead, but Shelvin Mack then committed a foul on Pittsburgh's Gilbert Brown near midcourt, the first of two questionable calls in the dying seconds.

Brown made the first shot with 1.4 seconds left, but the second caromed out. Howard secured the rebound, but Nasir Robinson slapped the Butler forward on the left arm and was whistled for a foul.

"I think if it's a foul it should be called a foul no matter if it's 0.2 seconds left on clock or 39 minutes left on the clock," Mack said. "The game is played for a full 40 minutes, I think it should be (reffed) for a full 40 minutes."

Officials saw the replay to determine how much time was left on the clock when Howard was fouled.

"As soon as he made the call, the first thing was to hope for -- did he even have enough time for the foul to be called once it hit his hands, and then we were just hoping Howard would just miss the two free-throws," Brown said. "That's all we could wish for."

Howard intentionally missed the second free throw at the other end, finishing the game and sending Butler to play fourth-seeded Wisconsin. That Southeast Region Sweet 16 game will be Thursday in New Orleans.

Mack scored 30 points, going 7-of-12 from three-point range, and Howard scored 16 as Butler (25-9) continued its tournament magic. Last year, the Bulldogs eliminated No. 1 seed Syracuse on the way to the title game before losing to Duke by two points.

Brown had 24 points for Pittsburgh (28-6), which also received 16 from Robinson and 11 from Ashton Gibbs.

The Panthers trailed by 12 points in the first half, as Mack's layup moved the Bulldogs to a 30-18 cushion with over six minutes left. Three-pointers from Gibbs and Brown trimmed the deficit, and Brown's jumper had the Panthers within 30-29.

Butler assumed control again with Mack knocking down a late three for a 38-30 halftime lead.

The Panthers finally went ahead 43-41 on a jumper from Brad Wanamaker. Later, a 7-0 run by Pittsburgh gave the Big East squad a 53-48 lead near the midway point of the second half.

However, the back-and-forth action continued, and Wanamaker's two free throws put the Panthers ahead 69-67 with 1:58 to go. Smith then went 1-of-2 at the charity stripe, and both teams then failed on shots.

First, Brown missed a jumper. Howard then missed a three-ball from the left corner inside of a minute left. Smith got the offensive board, but his scoop shot went awry.

After getting the rebound, the Panthers turned the ball over due to a shot clock violation. That left 9.2 seconds on the clock, and Butler called a timeout with 7.1 ticks remaining to set up the wild finish.

Game Notes

Butler has won its last 11 games, including two on the way to the Horizon League tourney title...Butler leads all Horizon League members in NCAA Tournament wins with 13 since the league was formed in 1979-80...Butler improved to 15-10 all-time in NCAA Tournament play...Pittsburgh shot 13-of-21 from the field in the second half and 56.5 percent for the game, compared to Butler's 46.2 percent...Pittsburgh held a 33-22 rebounding advantage.