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Butler makes second-half comeback to beat UC

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Posted at 9:42 PM, Dec 02, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-02 21:42:03-05

CINCINNATI -- Kellen Dunham scored 24 points while leading a second-half comeback, and Roosevelt Jones hit a bank shot with a tenth of a second left, rallying Butler to a 78-76 victory over No. 17 Cincinnati on Wednesday night.

The Bulldogs (5-1) trailed for most of the second half -- down by as many as eight points -- before Dunham hit consecutive 3s that set up a back-and-forth ending. His two free throws with 17.2 seconds left made it 76-73.

Cincinnati (7-1) had a chance when Octavius Ellis made a three-point play with 4.7 seconds left, but Jones drove through a crowd for the winning basket. He finished with 10 points as the Bulldogs won the first game between the schools since the 1997 NCAA tournament.

Ellis had 16 points for Cincinnati, which blocked a season-high 10 shots and held a lead for most of the second half with its defense.

The Bulldogs opened with an 11-3 run for their biggest lead. Freshman Jacob Evans III came off the bench and hit a pair of 3s that got the Bearcats going, and Cincinnati led by as many as six points before taking a 33-28 lead into halftime.

The Bearcats' defense had an effect, blocking eight shots and holding the Bulldogs - one of the nation's top offensive teams - to 33 percent shooting from the field in the opening half. The Bearcats rank fourth nationally in defense, holding four of their first eight opponents to 50 points or less.

Cincinnati got the ball inside to start the second half and converted three three-point plays while pulling ahead 50-42. Troy Caupain had a 3-pointer and a three-point play during the spurt.

Forward Andrew Chrabascz picked up his fourth foul with 13 minutes left, sending Butler's third-leading scorer to the bench for several minutes. He fouled out with 6:51 to go, having scored 11 points.

Dunham led Butler's comeback. His layup off a spin move cut it to 53-51 midway through the half, but Evans hit another 3-pointer that blunted the rally.

The Bulldogs got the lead for the first time in the second half when Dunham hit back-to-back 3s for a 67-66 advantage with 4:44 left. There were six lead changes and two ties down the stretch.

Getty Chippy

Ellis and Jones got technical fouls for shoving as the teams turned to head down the court following a turnover with 1:09 left in the first half. Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin got a technical for arguing a foul call with 11:39 left.

Tip-Ins

Butler: The Bulldogs' only loss was to Miami 85-75 in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off on Nov. 22.

Cincinnati: The Bearcats' previous season high was eight blocks.

Up Next

Butler: The Bulldogs host Indiana State on Saturday. Their game at Cincinnati was their only true road game so far this season.

Cincinnati: The Bearcats host Morgan State on Sunday, their last game before facing crosstown rival No. 12 Xavier on Dec. 12.