For the second time in as many months, Butler capitalized on last-second heroics to upend a “Top 10” team. Sophomore forward Roosevelt Jones released the game-winning shot, a floating jumper from 14 feet out, with less than one second remaining to help No. 13 Butler defeat No. 8 Gonzaga, 64-63, on Saturday night.
“This was a little bit of Hinkle magic, I guess,” Butler men’s basketball coach Brad Stevens said. “I haven’t heard (Hinkle Fieldhouse) like this since Avery Sheets hit a shot in 2003 to beat Milwaukee and I’m not sure it was that loud then.”
In front of sellout crowd of 10,228, Jones’ buzzer-beater gave Butler (16-2, 3-0) its 13th consecutive victory and third win this season against a “Top 10” opponent. The squad beat No. 9 North Carolina on Nov. 9 during the Maui Invitational and No. 1 Indiana on Dec. 15 as part of the Crossroads Classic. Only Duke has as many “Top 10” wins this season.
“I heard their coach saying to lob it to (Kelly) Olynyk, so I just played behind him, made the basketball play and got the steal,” Jones said. “I looked at the clock and saw four seconds, so I knew I could get down court. I saw Olynyk come up to me and I floated it over him.”
Jones finished with a team-high 20 points on 7-of-10 shooting, while hauling down five rebounds and dishing out four assists. He scored 16 of his 20 points in the second half.
The game was tightly contested throughout, with neither team leading by double digits at any point. Of the 13 lead changes in the contest, six came within the final two minutes and 12 seconds.
Gonzaga captured its largest lead of the game on a made jumper by junior forward Sam Dower that gave Gonzaga an early 13-4 advantage. Dower finished with 20 points, matching the scoring output of teammate Elias Harris. Leading scorer Kelly Olynyk finished with 14 points and seven rebounds.
Freshman guard Kellen Dunham paced the Bulldogs with nine first-half points, finishing with 14, including four three-pointers.
The contest was the first ever Butler game in which both teams were ranked among the top 15 teams in the nation. The game was also the start of ESPN’s eight-week College GameDay schedule.
Butler will look to extend its 13-game winning streak when it visits LaSalle on Wednesday at 7 p.m.