New conference tournament, same old Butler.
In their first game of the Atlantic 10 tournament the Bulldogs (25-7) defeated Dayton (17-14) by the final of 73-67 at the Barclays Center on Thursday afternoon.
“I thought we played okay today,” said Butler Head Coach Brad Stevens to the NBC Sports Network following the game. “I knew this was going to be a tough game. I’ll take any win, let alone a six-point win.”
Butler was led by the hot shooting hand of Senior Rotnei Clarke, who hit six three-pointers on his was to 21 points and 5 assists for the game. During the game Clarke moved up to third all-time on Butler’s all-time list for three-point field goals made in a career.
Dayton battled back and forth with Butler the entire game, taking a 43-39 lead with 15:15 in the early second half thanks to a Kevin Dillard three-point shot. Butler followed with three-point field goals from Clarke, Freshman Kellen Dunham, and than another from Clarke to take a 48-45 lead 12:21 left in the game and never looked back.
Bulldogs Senior Andrew Smith had a great game down low, contributing with 18 points and 6 rebounds, also hitting two shots from behind the arc as well.
With the victory Butler will play La Salle tomorrow, who is the number-four seed in the A-10 Tournament. La Salle defeated Butler 54-53 on January 23rd on the Explorers home court.