Mandatory Credit: Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

March Madness 2013: Butler Holds Off Bucknell, Avoids Upset with 68-56 Win


We’ve only had two games come and go so far in March Madness but we’ve already had a stereotypical March nail biter. Heading into the game, many believed that the Bucknell Bison had it in them to pull of an upset win over the Butler Bulldogs, but Brad Stevens’ crew had a little something to say about that as they were able to successfully hold off the Round of 64 upset.

It was a tight game though, and one that Bucknell in no way gave to the Bulldogs.

Butler briefly pulled away from Bucknell in the first half but the comfort was very short lived as the Bison came storming back and eventually took over the lead in the second half. You could feel the Bison preparing to take over the lead, and if they hadn’t have taken it at least once in the game, the box score just wouldn’t be accurate to what transpired on the court.

1

2

F

6 Butler

21

46

68

11 Bucknell

14

42

56

Late in the second half though, Butler leaped into an intense 8-0 run that gave them another comfortable lead at one of the worst points in the game for Bucknell to allow it. With under three minutes left in the game, the Bulldogs grabbed a 52-41 lead and just locked down on the Bison to close them out in the second round.

The momentum was completely sucked away from the Bison late int he game, as Joe Willman went to the line for the Bison with a chance to cut into the 52-41 lead but bricked both of his free throws, and his misses personified the Bison’s shooting performance in the closing minutes of the game. Bryson Johnson drilled a three-pointer to pull Bucknell within seven of the Bulldogs, but Butler started to heat up from the field and they proceeded to easily choke out and knock out the Bucknell Bison, effectively avoiding the projected upset.

As is the case in most March Madness affairs, Butler’s ability to drain free throws at the end of the game helped hold off the upset. Bucknell was desperately trying to extend the game near it’s conclusion but the Bulldogs’ swagger from the free throw line essentially canceled out every three that the Bison hit at the end of the game.

Butler wasn’t projected to play strongly in their first game back in the tournament since making it to back-to-back NCAA Finals, and they really weren’t aggressively impressive against Bucknell. But they moved on, and at this point in the season that’s all you need to do. A likely matchup with 3-seeded Marquette awaits the Bulldogs, but while the fought off the second round upset there is still a lot of work to do to make it three trips to the National Championship in three tries.

Tags: Bucknell Bison Butler Bulldogs March Madness NCAA NCAA Basketball NCAA Tournament Popular Round Of 64