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Young shines as Drake outlasts Butler

Feb 24, 2008 - 5:28 AM INDIANAPOLIS (Ticker) -- Drake needed a big win to get back on track and got it on Saturday.

Josh Young scored 25 points and made three key free throws in the closing seconds to lead No. 18 Drake to a 71-64 victory over eighth-ranked Butler at historic Hinkle Fieldhouse.

The game was a battle of conference leaders as Drake (24-3) came into the matchup first in the Missouri Valley Conference and Butler the top team in the Horizon League. Drake, which had won 21 straight games earlier this season, had dropped two out of three while Butler was cruising on a nine-game win streak.

Drake led 38-35 at the break before Butler (25-3) went on an 8-0 run early in the second half to take a 43-41 lead. The game was tight the rest of the way with Young making the difference.

"I thought today's game was very representative of how hard this team has played all year," Drake coach Keno Davis said. "We haven't won games in conference in convincing fashion, winning by 10 or 20, but have been able to play hard enough that we have been able to be in games at the end and then found a way to win games."

A sophomore who came in leading Drake at 16.2 points per game, Young came through with a career high in points and calmly knocked down three free throws with 20 seconds to play to give Drake a 67-62 lead.

"I knew the shot clock was running down and I thought I'd put it up there and see what happened," Young said.

Drake was holding a two-point lead and the ball when it ran the shot clock down to the last second before Young was fouled on a reach in by Mike Green. It was a pivotal play as Young hoisted up an off-balance 3-pointer that had no chance of going in and Green fouled out on the play.

Butler pulled within 67-64 on a pair of free throws by A.J. Graves but Drake got a breakaway layup from Leonard Houston and a pair of free throws by Klayton Korver to ice it.

"Butler is obviously a tremendous team," Davis said. "They will be picked to go very far in the NCAA Tournament, so for us to come in here and have a chance to win in the last few minutes I think shows how hard our team has worked from the first day of practice."

Butler took a 58-54 lead with 8:11 to play but went cold and Drake responded with a 9-0 run.

"I think we did pretty well most of the game, but there were times when we let it slip. Drake made the plays they needed to make to win the game," Graves said. "Each game is good experience for us. You want to win every game you can, but when we don't, we have to take the right approach to it and learn from it. That's what we're going to have to do."

Korver put Drake up for good, 61-58, with a 3-pointer and Young capped the spurt with a layup to make it 63-58 with 4:56 remaining.

"I thought they made timely plays. We were up four with about seven minutes to go and bang, 9-0 run," Butler coach Brad Stevens said. "That's who they are. That's what they do. I thought we got pretty decent looks, but it was probably more of trying to guard their penetration."