Final - OT
  for this game

Stefanov, Illinois-Chicago upsets Butler in OT

Jan 11, 2007 - 6:34 AM CHICAGO (Ticker) -- A.J. Graves and Butler did all they could to force overtime. Illinois-Chicago regained its composure after that.

Jovan Stefanov scored six of his 11 points in overtime as the Flames overcame the loss of a nine-point lead late in the second half for a 73-67 Horizon League upset victory over No. 12 Butler.

Taking advantage of a miserable shooting performance by the Bulldogs in the opening half, the Flames (8-9, 3-1 Horizon) opened up a 22-15 lead at the half and extended it to 53-44 with 4:41 remaining in regulation.

However, Butler (14-2, 3-1) came on strong behind leading scorer A.J. Graves, who scored seven points in the closing 51 seconds, including a pair of free throws that tied the score at 58-58 with 16 ticks to play.

Illinois-Chicago, which was without coach Jimmy Collins following his surgery to repair an aortic artery in his abdomen last Thursday, had a chance to answer but turned the ball over.

With a chance to seal the Bulldogs' fifth straight win, Graves missed a 3-point attempt at the buzzer.

Butler continued the momentum into the extra session, pulling ahead, 61-60, on a 3-pointer by Julian Betko with 3:16 remaining. However, Stefanov knocked down the first of his two baskets from the arc about a minute later to return the lead to the Flames.

The 6-9 Serbian added the second with 64 seconds remaining, giving Butler a 66-64 edge. Graves came back with a 3-pointer of his own, but Josh Mayo added his third of the game with 37 ticks left and T.J. Gray converted four free throws in the final 15 seconds to seal the upset for Illinois-Chicago.

Mayo scored 19 points and Gray 13 for the Flames, who captured just their second win in their last six games.

Both Mayo and Gray shot 3-of-6 on 3-pointers for Illinois-Chicago, which finished 52.4 percent (11-of-21) from the arc.

Butler went 13-of-42 (31 percent) from long range despite missing 15 of 17 attempts in the first half. It came into the contest leading the Horizon League with 7.67 3-point field goals per game.

Graves, who went 7-of-20 from the arc, scored a career-high 31 points for the Bulldogs, who lost to the Flames for the first time in four games.

Early on, Graves did not appear as if he would come close to a career-best performance as Butler fell behind, 18-9, over the first 13-plus minutes of the first half. In that span, the Bulldogs went just 3-of-18 from the field, including 1-of-11 on 3-pointers.

Graves missed all five of his shots to start, including four from the arc. He went on to finish 11-of-27.

Scott VanderMeer had 11 points and 10 rebounds and Othyus Jeffers added 12 boards, nine points and six assists for the Flames, who finished with a 51-38 rebounding advantage and 22-7 edge in second-chance points.

Brandon Crone scored 14 points and Pete Campbell added 12 for the Bulldogs, who finished 32.9 percent (23-of-70) from the field and 8-of-15 (53 percent) on free throws.