Butler steals last-second win over Gonzaga
by David Woods, USA TODAY Sports
INDIANAPOLIS — Butler and Hinkle Fieldhouse had the ingredients for another miracle, if another movie.
But stay tuned. The storylines never end.
Roosevelt Jones stole an inbounds pass, dribbled to the foul line and sank a 14-foot floater at the buzzer to lift No. 13 Butler over No. 8 Gonzaga 64-63 Saturday night before a sellout crowd of 10,228.
“A little bit of Hinkle magic,” Butler coach Brad Stevens said.
That’s as accurate an explanation as any.
Walk-on Alex Barlow nearly reprised his hero’s role from Butler’s upset of No. 1 Indiana, banking in a go-ahead basket with 24 seconds left.
But Kelly Olynyk sank two free throws with 4.6 on the clock, sending Gonzaga ahead 63-62. Barlow caught the inbounds pass but traveled, returning the ball to the Zags.
Jones stole it back and scored to cap a 20-point night and an historic day that started with ESPN GameDay at the 85-year-old basketball cathedral.
Butler freshman Kellen Dunham added 14 points, featuring four 3-pointers.
Jones said he heard Gonzaga coach Mark Few ask for a lob to the 7-foot Olynyk on the inbounds play. Jones intercepted the pass by David Stockton and went in for the buzzer-beater.
Stevens said it was the loudest he had heard the crowd since Avery Sheets’ 3-pointer beat Milwaukee to win the Horizon League championship in 2003. Coincidentally, Butler honored members of that team, which reached the NCAA Sweet Sixteen.
Jones scored 11 of Butler’s final 16 points. He said the game-winner was the first of his life. Moments earlier, he was on the sideline for treatment on a sore back.
“I looked up at the clock, and I think it was four seconds,” he said. “I knew I could get down. Then I spinned, and then I seen Olynyk come up to me, and I floated over him.”
Butler won in the absence of 3-point specialist Rotnei Clarke, who had another buzzer-beater in a Nov. 19 win over Marquette at Maui.
It was an unprecedented third time Butler has beaten a Top 10 team in the same season. Butler defeated No. 9 North Carolina 82-71 on Nov. 20 in Maui and Indiana 88-86 in overtime Dec. … [For more on No. 13 Butler steals last-second win over No. 8 Gonzaga, click here.]