Page last updated on Mon Dec 22 14:52:43 EST 2014
01/16/2013 10:25 PM EST
No. 14 Butler uses defense to beat Richmond 62-47

AP Sports Writer

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Butler figured out a simple way to win
without Rotnei Clarke.

Go hard inside and play lockdown defense.

On a night Andrew Smith scored 15 points and Kellen Dunham added
11, the Bulldogs completely bottled up Richmond's shooters and
rebounders and pulled away for a 62-47 victory in their first
Atlantic 10 home game.

"Our whole team was focused and you could tell just by the way
we came out tonight," Butler coach Brad Stevens said. "We had to
focus on the game, and I didn't have any question that we would
do that. Sometimes when you lose a guy, it heightens your focus
a little bit."

Whatever the impact, losing Clarke to a severely sprained neck
didn't slow down the Bulldogs (15-2, 3-0) one bit.

They will take a 12-game winning streak into Saturday's home
showdown against No. 8 Gonzaga - with a chance to become the
first team in school history to beat three Top 10 teams in one
season. The Bulldogs have already beaten Indiana and North
Carolina and may face an even tougher challenge without having
Clarke available Saturday.

But of all the different ways the Bulldogs have won this season,
from last-second shots to impressive blowouts, Wednesday night's
performance may go down as the most rewarding victory for

Butler didn't flinch when Richmond started switching defenders,
and it wound up using its size advantage to dominate the glass.
The Bulldogs outrebounded Richmond 53-20 overall with a
staggering 20 offensive rebounds compared to 14 defensive
rebounds for Richmond.

What else?

The Spiders (11-7, 1-2) came into the game averaging 71.2 points
and shooting 45.4 percent from the field. In their first trip to
Hinkle Fieldhouse, though, Richmond finished with a season-low
47 points and shot a season-low 32.7 percent from the field -
just a tick worse than they did against Kansas.

"Playing without their best player, they didn't miss a beat on
defense," Spiders coach Chris Mooney said. "They may be a little
less dynamic on offense."

That didn't matter.

Stevens told reporters Tuesday that the Bulldogs would make up
for Clarke's missing 16.3 points with both familiar and
unfamiliar names. He was right.

Roosevelt Jones continued his impressive play, finishing with 10
points, 12 rebounds and four assists. Dunham, who started in
place of Clarke, scored 11 points despite going 2 of 11 from the
field. Kameron Woods had eight points and seven rebounds. Alex
Barlow finished with five points, double his scoring average,
and Andrew Smeathers, who scored six points all season, had five
against Richmond.

"Without Rotnei we lose one of our shooters, so we were focused
on going inside a little bit more," Smith said. "But it doesn't
really change what we did a whole lot."

For Richmond, it was a night-long struggle.

It opened the game just 4 of 22 from the field. The percentage
improved to 28.6 percent at halftime with a late scoring flurry
and steadily increased throughout the second half.

It wasn't nearly enough to pull the upset. Darien Brothers was
the only Richmond player to reach double figures. He finished
with 12 points. Cedrick Lindsay made two 3-pointers and scored
nine points. Nobody else had more than six as the Spiders played
without their second-leading scorer, forward Derrick Williams,
for the fourth straight game because of a sprained ankle.

Richmond has lost two in a row, both on the road, and five of
seven overall.

"They're a good defensive team, but I did think we had looks we
could make," Mooney said. "But scoring now is really heavily
weighted to us shooting the ball well because we're not getting
any inside baskets."

With almost no inside presence, Butler made this one easy.

The Bulldogs took control with first-half runs of 7-0 and 8-0 to
build a 23-11 lead with 5:26 left in the first half. After Deion
Taylor's second 3 got Richmond within 25-17, the Bulldogs closed
the half on an 8-4 spurt that ended with Barlow's 3 to make it

Things didn't change much in the second half.

Butler made two baskets in the first 1:49.

Richmond needed more than 4 minutes to match that total and
another 5 minutes before Lindsay delivered Richmond's third
basket, a 3 with 11:33 to go that cut the Bulldogs' lead to
46-29. The Spiders did make one late push, using a 9-0 run to
close to 50-41 with 8:23 left.

But the Bulldogs thwarted the rally, expanded the lead to as
much as 15 and then shut the Spiders on defense again.

"That is a great win," Stevens said. "That's a hard team to play
against, a hard team to prepare for because they do something
that is really unique in college basketball, they switch
everything. But our guys stayed the course in a game you almost
have to play their way."

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