Butler vs Fordham

Butler closes out Fordham

CBSSports.com wire reports

NEW YORK --- All college basketball fans know Butler plays in Hinkle Fieldhouse, the great old building made famous by the movie Hoosiers.

Well, the Bulldogs got to play Saturday in Fordham's Rose Hill Gym, an older building than theirs by three years -- and it seems they like playing there.

"I love Rose Hill Gym. I think it's one of neatest places I've coached in," Butler's Brad Stevens said. "It is right up my alley. I was reminded of the movie Hoosiers when I walked in."

Rotnei Clarke scored 22 points and No. 11 Butler beat Fordham 68-63 on Saturday, the Rams' sixth straight loss and ninth in the past 10 games.

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"It's really cool and really similar," Clarke said of Rose Hill, which seats 3,200, according to the school -- about 7,000 less than Hinkle, which was built in 1928. "Obviously it's smaller but it's cool coming onto campus. It's an old building and an old school. It's got a lot of history so it was fun to play in."

Clarke was the key figure for the Bulldogs (21-5, 8-3 Atlantic 10) late in the game when Fordham (6-20, 2-9) was able to close to 65-63 with 18 seconds to play.

"Coach gives me the freedom and he wants the ball in my hands as the shot clock was going down," Clarke said. "Fortunately I got a couple of good screens. I got the ball to Andrew [Smith] and we executed."

Stevens called Clarke a "game-changer."

"He stemmed the tide and he has the ability to make shots."

The Bulldogs closed it out by making four of six free throws the rest of the way to improve to 36-10 after a loss under Stevens. Butler lost to Charlotte 71-67 on Wednesday.

The game marked the return of Smith, Butler's starting center, who missed the home loss to Charlotte because of an abdominal injury. He had 12 points and made all six of his free throws, including four in the final 1:54.

"Obviously I wouldn't play if I didn't get full clearance," said Smith, who had no basketball activity for a week.

Stevens was glad to have him back.

"I was shocked when the trainers told me on Thursday that he could play tonight," Stevens said. "We're a better team with him, no doubt."

Chris Gaston had 21 points for Fordham in his first game back after missing seven with a knee injury. The Bulldogs did a good job on Gaston late, holding him scoreless for the final 5 minutes.

"I was trying to get back in rhythm," Gaston said. "I wasn't thinking about me at all. I was just trying to get a W. They weren't trying to double me and I tried to take advantage."

Fordham coach Tom Pecora was pleased with the return of the team's only senior.

"He didn't look like there was any weakness at all," Pecora said. "I was pleased with his effort."

Mandell Thomas had 12 points, including two 3-pointers in the final minute, for the Rams. He was coming off a career-high 23 points against Xavier. Ryan Rhoomes had eight points and eight rebounds for Fordham.

Kameron Woods had seven points and 10 rebounds for the Bulldogs.

Fordham opened the second half on a 9-0 run to take a 35-30 lead, but the Bulldogs went on a 16-2 run right after that to go up 46-37 with 12:57 to play.

Butler finished 22 of 34 (64.7 percent) from the free throw line, while the Rams were 11 of 15 (73.3 percent)

This was only the second meeting between the schools. Butler beat the Rams 90-78 in the first round of the 1959 NIT.

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
Andrew Smith returns to the Butler lineup with 12 points, including four key free throws late.  (US Presswire)
Andrew Smith returns to the Butler lineup with 12 points, including four key free throws late. (US Presswire)
Butler #11 (21-5) «303868
Fordham (6-20)263763
BUTLER:R. Clarke 22 Pts
BUTLER:K. Woods 10 Reb
BUTLER:R. Clarke 4 Ast
FORD:C. Gaston 21 Pts
FORD:T. Leonard 9 Reb
FORD:B. Frazier 8 Ast

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Rotnei Clarke
Chris Gaston
Butler Bulldogs
R. Jones, F385-93-783213
R. Clarke, G366-166-664122
A. Smith, C303-76-621312
A. Barlow, G230-11-21131
K. Marshall, F162-50-03034
K. Dunham, G212-83-73119
K. Woods, F182-23-610147
E. Fromm, F150-20-04020
C. Stigall, G30-10-01000
E. Kampen, CDid Not Play
J. Aldridge, GDid Not Play
A. Smeathers, G-FDid Not Play
E. Kampen, GDid Not Play
D. Morgan, GDid Not Play
Totals 20-5122-3438111968
Fordham Rams
B. Frazier, G391-92-32824
M. Thomas, G394-131-141312
T. Leonard, F235-80-092210
J. Myers, G170-40-01120
R. Canty, C101-10-02042
C. Gaston, F279-173-460321
B. Smith, G241-63-43256
R. Rhoomes, F203-32-38018
L. Zivkovic, F10-20-00010
K. Robinson, GDid Not Play
J. Fay, GDid Not Play
D. Gaitley, GDid Not Play
J. Short, GDid Not Play
N. Musovic, GDid Not Play
L. Walsh, FDid Not Play
Totals 24-6311-1535142363
Big East
TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
Seton Hall10-821-1244
St. Johns7-1114-19140

Atlantic 10
TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
Rhode Island13-525-1031
St. Bona.11-720-1291
Geo. Wash.10-820-15102
George Mason9-920-14103
La Salle9-915-15137
Saint Louis6-1212-21238
Saint Josephs4-1411-20201
Other games
ND 54 Final
PITT 69 Final
MU 79
UK 58 Final
FLA 83 Final
AUB 52
OKLA 79 Final
PUR 55 Final
IND 83
CSU 89 Final
AF 86
GONZ 71 Final
SF 61
DUKE 81 Final
MD 83
BAYL 61 Final
KSU 81
ORE 79 Final
WSU 77
MEMP 71 Final
MIST 73 Final
NEB 64
SYR 76 Final
BOISE 50 Final
TEXAS 47 Final
KAN 73