EL DORADO — The Grizzlies never could find their bearings in their 97-84 loss to Barton on Saturday afternoon.
Butler falls to 11-4 on the year and 4-2 in the Jayhawk Conference. Thy are currently third place in the East division.
It was never a night in their favor. Butler started the game, missing their first nine shots before they were able to finally get one to fall. At that point, Butler was already down 9-4 and were on the uphill climb for the remainder of the game.
"They looked like they played a game before and we looked like we haven't played in 23 days," Butler head coach Kyle Fisher said.
Butler was 2-of-18 and 1-of-14 before they finally started to get some shots to fall but it really never mattered as Keandre Bowles hit three three-pointers and Butler could find an equal response.
"We dug ourselves a pretty big hole missing a bunch of makable shots," Fisher said. "We didn't do a good job defensively."
Butler pulled within 41-31 1:53 to go until halftime. Barton turned up the heat, Diovante Caldwell hit a three and Jarin Koehler nailed one as well, giving the Cougars a comfortable lead heading into the break.
"Early on it was our offense not able to score as much as it was our defense," Fisher said. "They made timely play and timely shots."
Barton led 53-34 at halftime.
Jaheim Holden hit a three coming out of halftime, pushing the lead to 22 in a blink of an eye for Barton. The lead would swell to 27 as Justin Harmon had a monstrous dunk to put the Cougars up 63-36 and to cap a 10-2 run to start the second half.
"It could have gone the other way really quickly but our guys keep fighting and kept competing," Fisher said. "That's what this program is about."
Butler made a run midway through the second half. It started with back-to-back three-pointers from Javaunte Hawkins. Then, Zach Butler and Shawn Hopkins came in as the lead had started to grow back above 20 and made their marks.
After Hawkins made two free throws, bringing Butler within 84-73 with 4:01 remaining, Butler couldn’t hit free throws on multiple opportunities to bring it within single digits.
Juwan White made a steal, handing it off to Hawkins, who forced a Barton timeout with 2:58 remaining. Butler had climbed within 86-77.
Barton would grab rebounds, limiting Butler to one-shot opportunities, and would get to the line 14 times over the final five minutes, making the best of their opportunities going 10-of-14.
Javaunte Hawkins scored a season-high 22 points, while Grehlon Easter and Payton Dickerson each finished with 15 points.
Where Barton really took it to Butler was at the bench. They outscored the Grizzlies 47-20 in bench scoring. The Cougar bench was 5-of-9 from three, creating back-breaking threes for Barton.
Butler has not beaten Barton at home since 2013 and now have dropped five straight to the Cougars.
The Grizzlies will try to get back to their winning ways as they host Pratt on Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m. at the Power Plant.
"We'll use this to get better and be ready for a good Pratt team at home," Fisher said.