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Butler routs Barton, 87-70

Charles Chaney
Butler County Times Gazette
Butler guard Noah Thomasson (21) falls due to contact from Barton's Justin Harmon (0) on Wednesday, Feb. 17.

EL DORADO—Butler used an 16-2 run over a span of almost four minutes to separate themselves from the Barton Cougars on Wednesday night and that’s really all they would need. 

Butler held one of the highest scoring teams in the nation to only 70 points as Butler ran away with the 87-70 win.

“We talked about our defense all week,” sophomore Shawn Hopkins said. “We knew we could be better and when we play our game, we can beat anyone on our schedule.”

The defense played better, that’s for sure. They held Barton  to 43.3 percent, almost seven points below their average. They also forced 10 turnovers and limited Barton on the offensive glass to only five offensive boards. 

“It was a lot of things like technique, positioning and toughness,” Butler Head Coach Kyle Fisher said. “We did a good job of correcting the mistakes and we’ve won the last two rebounding battles.”

After Barton took a 17-15 lead, the Grizzlies turn up the heat. They would go on a 16-2 run that spanned almost four minutes. They forced turnovers and scored in an array of ways to create separation from Barton. 

Butler took a 43-28 lead with 3:52 remaining on two Shawn Hopkins free throws, giving them their biggest lead of the half. In all, Butler went to the line 19 times in the first half, hitting 15 of them. 

Butler’s (6-2) defense shined on their final possession of the half, limiting Barton to zero attempts as the buzzer sounded, giving the Grizzlies a 46-33 lead at the break.

A lot of the damage was by Shawn Hopkins who seemed to be involved in all of it as he scored 20 points with zero turnovers in the first half.

“Shawn [Hopkins] is one of the best scorers around the rim in the league,” Fisher said.

Butler wasted no time scoring six quick points to start the second half and the lead would snowball from there. 

Justin Harmon’s jumper made it 52-36 with 17:03 remaining in the game but that’s as close as Barton would find themselves as Butler responded with 10-3 spurt to give them a 62-39 advantage. 

Barton (2-4) would pick up a couple of technical fouls complaining about foul calls. 

Hopkins would finish with 29 points and seven rebounds to lead all scorers. He had seven rebounds and one assist and only one turnover for the sophomore.

Hopkins’ 29 points are the most for a Butler player since Jared Armstrong scored 33 points at Pratt on Jan. 3, 2018.

In all, Butler had three players in double figures with Thomasson having 20 points, including 10 of 12 at the line. He would also have eight rebounds, six assists and two steals. DeeJuan Pruitt had 18 points and six rebounds. 

The Grizzlies welcomed back Karrington Davis, who has missed the last four games with an injury. The transfer from UW-Milwaukee scored three in the win. 

“It’s great getting a player like KD [Karrington Davis] back,” Hopkins said. “He makes us better.”

Butler will head to Goodland to play the winless Mavericks of Northwest Kansas Tech. They’ve dropped 10 consecutive games, dating back to Feb. 5, 2020.

Last season, Butler topped the Mavericks 93-73 on Dec. 11, 2019. The Grizzlies have won three all three games against NW Kansas Tech.   

“We’ll go down the night before,” Fisher said. “We’ve seen what happens when you go on the road in this league. It’s tough.”

Charles Chaney has been the Sports Editor for the Butler County Times-Gazette since Aug. 2019. You can reach him at cchaney@butlercountytimesgazette.com or on Twitter at @ChuckChaneyBCTG.