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Graves, Campbell help Butler escape with win

Feb 6, 2008 - 6:36 AM VALPARAISO, Indiana (Ticker) -- Valparaiso led all night but A.J. Graves and Pete Campbell put Butler ahead when it counted most.

Graves made some key hoops down the stretch and fed Campbell for a backbreaking 3-pointer in the closing seconds to lead the 11th-ranked Bulldogs to a 71-68 victory over the Crusaders in a Horizon League matchup.

Baskets by Graves tied the game 60-60 with 2:45 to play and 62-62 just 35 seconds later. After the Bulldogs rebounded a missed free throw, Graves made another basket to forge a 65-65 tie with a minute left.

Jarryd Loyd made a 3-pointer for Valparaiso to make it 68-65 on the next possession. Butler went for a quick two and a foul and Loyd failed to draw iron on the front end of a 1-and-1.

"I went to the line and I missed. It's the game of basketball," Loyd said. "It happens. I feel like I let my team down. But, you know, I'll bounce back on Thursday." That was the opening Graves and the Bulldogs needed and they took advantage. The senior guard drove to his right and got just below the foul line before kicking the ball to a wide-open Campbell in the right corner.

"Willie set the last screen and I was in the corner," Campbell said. "A.J. had an open lane to the basket and my guy helped on him. I knew A.J. was going to throw the ball to me."

Campbell buried the 3-pointer to give Butler its first lead of the game at 70-68.

After a turnover by Valpo, Willie Veasley made one free throw to give Butler a three-point cushion and Brandon McPherson's 3-pointer was long at the horn.

Graves finished with 20 points for Butler (20-2, 9-2 Horizon) and Campbell added 17. Campbell made five 3-pointers and Graves added four.

Loyd scored 16 points and McPherson added 13 for the Crusaders (14-8, 5-5).

"I was very proud of our team's effort tonight," Crusaders coach Homer Drew said. "The students and fans did a fantastic job of creating a great atmosphere, and everybody got to see a great game of basketball."

Things started great for the Crusaders as they scored the first 12 points of the game. They led 17-7 with 12:17 left in the first half before the Bulldogs went on a 12-2 run to forge a 19-19 tie.

Valpo stretched its lead back to 43-35 at the half but shot 29 percent (8-of-28) in the second half as Butler got back in the game.