Butler struggles, but pulls away late from Florida Gulf CoastDec 23, 2007 - 5:10 AM FORT MEYERS, Florida (Ticker) -- It took longer than expected, but Butler finally did pull away from Florida Gulf Coast.
A.J. Graves scored 17 points and Mike Green added 16 as the 18th-ranked Bulldogs posted a 78-66 victory over the Eagles on Saturday.
Julian Betko chipped in 12 points on 4-of-5 shooting from the arc for the Bulldogs, who shot 26-of-28 (93 percent) from the foul line for the game.
Florida Gulf Coast (3-9) wasn't supposed to give Butler much of a challenge as the Eagles are in their first season as a Division I program.
However, Butler (11-1) had all it could handle for most of the game and led by only two points with over four minutes to play.
But Butler ended the game on a 14-4 run, going 6-of-6 from the foul line to help secure its third straight victory. Graves made four free throws during the run and Drew Streicher threw down a dunk that gave the Bulldogs a 72-64 lead with just over one minute to play.
The starting backcourt of Graves and Green finished 17-of-18 from the foul line, while Green added six rebounds and six assists.
Matt Howard also scored 12 points for Butler, which shot just 8-of-22 from the arc for the game.
Florida Gulf Coast jumped out to an 11-2 lead before Butler came back. Graves made his first 3-pointer of the game that tied the score at 23-23 with just over five minutes left in the first half.
Tied at 33-33 at the half, Butler took an eight-point lead after Betko's fourth 3-pointer of the game with 15:20 to play. However, the Eagles scored the next eight points and after back-to-back 3-pointers by Casey Wohlleb, Florida Gulf Coast had tied the game at 49-49 with just under 14 minutes remaining.
The game was still tied with under 10 minutes to go before the Bulldogs went on a 9-2 spurt. Mike Green's three-point play with 6:24 to go gave Butler a 63-56 advantage.
But the Eagles came back again and Wohlleb made a pair of free throws to cut the deficit to 64-62 with 4:39 to play.
Wohlleb finished with a season-high 24 points for the Eagles, who have lost four straight contests. The senior shot 8-of-16 from the floor, including 4-of-7 from the arc and added five assists.
Florida Gulf Coast shot 50 percent (21-of-42) from the field but were just 17-of-28 (61 percent) from the free-throw line.
- NCAA BB
FINAL 1ST 2ND TOTAL
--- --- -----
BUTLER (18) 33 45 78
FLA GULF COAST 33 33 66 FINAL
Dec 22 9:00 PM
- NCAA BB
(18) BUTLER 33
FLA GULF COAST 33 HALFTIME
Dec 22 7:57 PM
- Butler basketball coach agrees to contract extension May 18
- Butler fills assistant coaching void with hire of Schrage May 12
- FGCU hoops coach Dooley gets 2-year extension through 2020 May 7
- Butler adds graduate transfer Avery Woodson to roster Apr 25
- Butler partners with bone marrow registry in Smith's honor Mar 18
- Shut out of NCAA games, Butler's mascot hard at work outside Mar 18
- No. 1 seed Virginia prepares for 2nd-round test from Butler Mar 18
- Tar Heels aim to stay on defensive vs. Eagles in NCAAs Mar 16
- Smith leads 5th school to NCAAs as Texas Tech faces Butler Mar 16
- Emotional season helps Butler finds its way to NCAA tourney Mar 15
- No. 16 Providence rallies late, downs No. 18 Butler 71-68 Jan 19
- No. 24 Butler changing script with more offensive power Nov 9