COFFEYVILLE, KANSAS – Butler could not overcome a 17-point second half deficit as the Coffeyville Red Ravens ended Butler’s six-game winning streak with a 77-73 win over Butler
It’s Butler’s third consecutive loss inside Nellis Hall. Butler has not won in Coffeyville since January 2017. The Grizzlies are 1-6 since 2010 in Coffeyville.
Butler finishes the regular season 22-7 and 15-5 in the Jayhawk Conference.
Free throws came to be a big decided for the game. Butler went 8-of-13 at the free throw line, compared to Coffeyville’s 17-of-22.
“They were the more downhill team, the more aggressive team,” Butler head coach Kyle Fisher said. “They are the one who gets the calls.”
Butler had a chance to tie or take the lead with 12 seconds remaining. However, the officials called Juwan White for a carry with 9.3 seconds remaining that ended Butler’s opportunity of a complete comeback.
“I hate to see the game taken away in the half court situation like that,” Fisher said.
Despite the loss, Butler never quit after falling behind 12-0 to start the game. The shots were good looks but just weren’t falling. They were short and credit the Red Ravens, their length caused issues for Butler early on.
“You can’t go on the road and spot a really good defensive team 12 points to start the game,” Fisher said.
When Tony Jones found the bottom of the net, that’s when it clicked for Butler. Javaunte Hawkins hit a three and Hawkins followed it up on the next possession to tie the game at 16-all with just over nine minutes remaining in the half.
Butler took their first lead of the game when Juwan White nailed a three from left corner to give Butler their first lead at 22-21 with 6:00 remaining.
Rebounding was the biggest let down for Butler. They were out rebounded by 12 on the night and gave up 12 second chance points.
Coffeyville responded in the first half after Butler took the lead with a couple of big threes to give themselves the lead. However, it was Jones once again, this time a hook shot from the right side of the paint, tying it at 33-33 heading into halftime.
After some back-and-forth, the Red Ravens started to pull away from Butler. The Tony Hutson hit back-to-back threes, going up 55-46 with 12:14 to go. Marque English responded with his own to keep Butler within two possessions.
The lead grew for the Red Ravens as Butler failed to secure rebounds, leading to a three-possession opportunity and an eventual bucket. After the Grizzlies were called for a travel, Coffeyville came down and scored on a layup off the glass, continuing the 19-5 run that spanned more than four minutes.
Grehlon Easter hit a three, ending the run but the Red Ravens responded with a trey of their own.
Coffeyville grabbed their largest lead of 17 and Butler made their final push. Kamron Brice hit a three on a Red Raven turnover to cut the lead down to 10. Easter followed it up with a three of his own in a matter of seconds, pulling the Grizzlies within 69-62 with 5:23 to remaining, leading to the 10-0 run.
After a Red Raven timeout, Butler forced another turnover, White hit a three, bringing Butler within 69-64 with 3:50 to remaining in regulation. Easter hit another three, pushing Butler’s run out to 16-2 and pulling the Grizzlies within three.
White split free throws to bring Butler within a one-possession game with 1:42 remaining in regulation.
Butler pulled within 75-73, but a late carry call with 9.3 seconds ended Butler’s comeback hopes.
The Grizzlies had six players with at least eight points. Hawkins led the way with 15 points on 5-of-14 shooting. He also had six assists for the Grizzlies.
Butler will be the East No. 2 seed in next week’s Region VI tournament. They’ll host Garden City or Northwest Kansas Tech on Wednesday night at the Power Plant in the first round of the tournament.
“We’re going to have to play really well and bounce back like we’ve done all year long,” Fisher said.