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Graves, Butler once again struggle at Wright State

Dec 9, 2007 - 5:35 AM DAYTON, Ohio (Ticker) -- It is a different season but the same old story for Butler.

A.J. Graves was held to a season-low six points as the No. 13 Bulldogs once again came up short at Horizon League rival Wright State in a 43-42 loss on Saturday.

Graves shot just 2-of-11 from the floor, including 0-6 on 3-pointers, as Butler (8-1, 0-1 Horizon) lost here for the sixth straight time.

Of those six misses from the arc for Graves was a possible game-winning shot in the closing seconds.

"It shows what we're capable of," Wright State guard Will Graham told the Dayton Daily News. "We didn't want our offense to dictate our defense. Everyone in the gym knew Graves was going to take that last shot. We had to stop him."

While they were mid-major darlings on the national scene last season en route to an appearance in the regional finals of the NCAA Tournament, the Bulldogs could not figure out the Raiders. They lost two of three meetings here, including a 60-55 decision in the league's postseason tournament.

Although it no longer has Horizon League Player of the Year DaShaun Wood, Wright State was still able to befuddle Butler behind 10 points each from Todd Brown and Scottie Wilson.

The Raiders (3-2, 1-1) trailed for most of the second half until Graham's jumper with 1:44 remaining gave them a 43-42 edge.

After a timeout by Butler, Brown came up with a steal for Wright State but Jordan Pleiman could not add to the lead when he missed the front end of a 1-and-1. Brown did get the offensive rebound though, but the Bulldogs regained possession on a steal by Julian Betko with 20 seconds left.

Butler then turned to Graves, who entered the contest shooting 36 percent on 3-pointers. However, the senior was off the mark from long range at the top of the key in the closing seconds and Betko could not get off another shot despite pulling down the offensive rebound.

"I'd rather win that way (on defense) than for us to hit a last-second shot," Wright State coach Brad Brownell said.

Vaughn Duggins scored eight points and Graham finished with six for the Raiders, who shot 47 percent (18-of-38).

Betko finished with 14 points and six rebounds for the Bulldogs, who shot 32 percent (16-of-50) from the field and took only five free throws.

Drew Streicher scored seven points and Matt Howard added eight boards for Butler, which did win the rebounding battle, 31-25.