Wood, Wright State clip Butler for Horizon League titleMar 7, 2007 - 6:56 AM DAYTON, Ohio (Ticker) -- DaShaun Wood burst the bubble of a number of teams - and crushed rival Butler's title hopes as well.
Wood had a key block and hit the go-ahead 3-pointer within a 20-second span as Wright State captured the Horizon League Tournament championship with a 60-55 upset of No. 17 Butler.
With the win, the Raiders (23-9) collected just their second berth in the NCAA Tournament and first since 1993. They also forced the Bulldogs (27-6) to settle for an at-large bid, taking away a spot in the 65-team field from such bubble teams as Missouri State, Old Dominion and Drexel.
"It's a great feeling," said Wood, who was named the tournament's MVP. "As far as our team, we are just as happy and that makes me even more proud. This win was not just for the team, but it was for everyone."
"We're not worried about the NCAA's for at least another 48 hours," Wright State coach Brad Brownell said. "(Right now) we're going to enjoy this with our fans."
It will be the first berth in the NCAA Tournament for Butler since 2003, when it reached the regional semifinals as a No. 12 seed.
"We will not have any problems playing," Bulldogs coach Todd Lickliter said about the team's prospects for the NCAAs. "We've played really good basketball (this season)."
With both teams alternating baskets for much of the final six minutes, the senior Wood prevented Butler from snapping a 52-52 tie with 1:25 remaining when he blocked a uncontested layup by A.J. Graves from behind.
Just 20 seconds later, the 5-11 Woods knocked down his sixth 3-pointer of the game to give Wright State a lead it would not relinquish.
"DaShaun is such a great player," Raiders forward Drew Burleson said. "He makes things happen. He's hit them all year."
The Bulldogs cut the deficit to 55-54 after Brandon Crone made a layup off an inbound play under the basket with 35 seconds left, but Vaughn Duggins split two free throws six seconds later to give the Raiders a 56-54 cushion.
Butler, which also absorbed a 77-65 setback at home to Wright State on February 10, had a chance to tie the contest after Crone was fouled with 11 seconds to play. The 6-6 senior was long on the first before converting the second.
Fouling before the ensuing inbounds, the Bulldogs saw Will Graham sink both free throws. The sophomore guard added two more with 1.6 seconds left after Graves missed a 3-pointer on the other end to seal the 11th win in the last 12 games for the Raiders.
"I was just trying to push the ball up and see what the best shot was that we could get, because I knew we needed a three and I knew we didn't have any timeouts left," Graves said about his last shot.
Wood, who went 6-of-10 from the arc, finished with 27 points and Burleson added 15 for Wright State, which shot 50 percent (20-of-40), including 10-of-22 on 3-pointers.
Crone had 18 points and Graves added 12 for the Bulldogs, who shot 7-of-23 on 3-pointers in dropping to 4-4 in their last eight games.
The setback continued a brutal stretch for Butler, which absorbed its third loss in the conference championship game over the past five years.
"This was not neutral," Lickliter said. "This is something that was a good environment for now. For our guys to maintain their poise for most of the time (was alright) but you have to do it all the time to win."
- HORIZON LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP
NCAA BB HORIZON LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP
FINAL 1ST 2ND TOTAL
--- --- -----
BUTLER (17) 29 26 55
WRIGHT ST 31 29 60 FINAL
Mar 6 11:02 PM
- HORIZON LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP
NCAA BB BUTLER (17) 29
WRIGHT ST 31 HALFTIME
Mar 6 9:47 PM
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