Keyon Thomas fuels Butler men's basketball win over Northwest Kansas Tech Mavericks
GOODLAND, KANSAS — For the 20th-ranked Butler Grizzlies mens' basketball team, Wednesday's win over Northwest Kansas Tech wasn't a pretty win but it was a win.
Butler survived what felt like a three-point shooting onslaught from Northwest Tech to win, 65-57 and improve to 7-1 on the season and 2-1 in KJCCC play.
Northwest Tech's Ethan Yancy, Clayton Bradley and Myles Arnold were a combined 9 of 16 from beyond the three-point line in the game and it's essentially what kept the Mavericks (2-5, 1-2) in the game.
Northwest Tech led early and often throughout the first half, answering back to anything the Grizzlies tried to throw at them. Yancy hit a step-back three-pointer from 25-feet in rhythm that gave everyone a feeling that this wasn't going to be your parent's Northwest Tech team, a school that had won a combined seven games over the last two seasons.
Tim Moore Jr. made a lay up with 12:55 remaining int he first half and Northwest Tech had their largest lead of the game at 15-10. While Butler continued to chip away at the deficit, Northwest gave them trouble with a full court press.
The Grizzlies used their size and aggressiveness to get to the line and get back into the contest and eventually take the lead. Butler shot 10 consecutive free throws over an almost four-minute span, seeing the Grizzlies go 8 of 10 at the line and take a 25-21 lead with 6:04 remaining in the half.
After Butler took a 34-30 lead into the break, Northwest Tech came out with more aggressiveness and was able to get to the rim. They outscored Butler 10-3 over the first four minutes of the second half.
However, Butler would go on a 7-0 run in response, forcing Northwest Tech to call a timeout with 13:32 remaining in the game as Butler regained the lead, 44-40.
The Grizzlies would never trail again.
Marque English and Keyon Thomas would hit 3s and Butler would go 3 of 4 at the line in the game's final minutes to secure the victory.
Butler struggled shooting on the night, going only 36.5 percent from the floor and 26.3 percent (5 of 19) from 3-point range. Their saving grace was their free throw shooting as they went 14 of 19, while Northwest Tech went only 2 of 5.
Keyon Thomas led Butler with 22 points off the bench. He made 3 of 6 from deep and had six rebounds and three steals in the win.
English had 10 points and 11 rebounds for the double-double.
Yancy (16), Bradley (12) and Arnold (22) scored all but seven points for the Mavericks in the game.
The Grizzlies will now turn their attention to Pratt on Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. at the Power Plant. Butler has won seven straight against Pratt and are 6-2 at home vs. Pratt since the 2011-12 season.