No. 11 Butler slips past Fordham

By
Updated: February 16, 2013

Rotnei Clarke scored 22 points off the bench and
led 11th-ranked Butler to a 68-63 victory over Fordham on Saturday.

Roosevelt Jones had 13 points and eight rebounds, while Andrew Smith scored 12
points for the Bulldogs (21-5, 8-3 A-10), who came into the game off a loss
against Charlotte on Wednesday.

“It was a great win,” Butler coach Brad Stevens said ” They were very hard to
beat.”

Chris Gaston recorded 21 points and six rebounds off the bench for the Rams
(6-20, 2-9), who have lost six consecutive games. Mandell Thomas scored 12
points and Travion Leonard registered 10 points and nine rebounds.

“We just played the No. 11 team in the country down to the wire,” Fordham head
coach Tom Pecora said. “I was happy with our effort today. Even though the
record might not show it, we’re getting better as a team.”

Entering the second half, Butler held a 30-26 margin. However, an early 9-0
run by Fordham gave the team a 35-30 advantage with 16 minutes left to go.

However, Butler scored 13 unanswered points over the next three minutes to
take a 43-35 lead and the Bulldogs never looked back.

Fordham clawed their way back through the rest of the half and got within two,
65-63, with 18 seconds remaining in regulation.

A trio of free throw shots, though, gave Butler a 68-63 advantage with five
seconds to go, putting the game out of reach.

Butler opened up the game with a 7-0 run, but Fordham returned the favor with
a 9-0 run of their own. A dunk by Smith tied the game at 9-9 with 11:49 to go.

A pair of free throws by Ryan Rhoomes and a layup by Leonard gave Fordham a
13-9 lead and they held on to the lead for nearly the rest of the half.

With 1:05 remaining, Jones made a layup while drawing a foul off Leonard, but
couldn’t get the free throw in. Clarke then scored from beyond the arc.

Branden Frazier attempted to shoot with two seconds left, but Kameron Woods
stole the ball as the first half came to a close.

Game Notes

Clarke made all six of his free throws, including four in the final 1:54 …
Butler is 12-1 at home this season … Saturday’s contest was the first time
Butler and Fordham played each other since Mar. 12, 1959, when Butler defeated
Fordham, 94-80, in the first round of the NIT.