Butler Upsets Top-Seeded Pitt In Crazy Finish
By David Ginsburg
AP Sports Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) – With plenty of help from Pittsburgh, Butler found another way to pull off a stunning upset in the NCAA tournament.
Matt Howard made one free throw with 0.8 seconds left to cap a wild final sequence, and Butler shocked the top-seeded Panthers 71-70 Saturday night to advance to the round of 16.
Each team had a chance to win it from the foul line in the last 2 seconds. After Butler’s Shelvin Mack inexplicably fouled Gilbert Brown near midcourt with 1.4 seconds left, Brown made the first try to tie it.
He missed the second, and Howard was fouled by Nasir Robinson while grabbing the rebound – a foul even more unnecessary than the one that preceded it.
Howard made the first shot, then intentionally banged the second attempt off the rim.
Brown finished with 24 points, but he will forever remember the missed free throw.
Mack scored 30 for Butler (25-9), which used a string of upsets to reach the championship game last year. Butler has won 11 straight overall and is 7-1 in its last eight NCAA tournament games.
The 30 points were two short of Mack’s career high and a Butler tournament record. He went 10 for 16, including 7 for 12 from 3-point range.
The Bulldogs will next face either Kansas State or Wisconsin in the Southeast regional semifinals.
Pittsburgh (28-6), the Big East regular-season champion, trailed by 12 in the first half and blew a five-point lead in the second. The Panthers also had a shot-clock violation with 10 seconds left, which led to a go-ahead layup by Butler’s Andrew Smith.
Mack followed with his foul on Brown, but the Bulldogs survived the error.
Pittsburgh trailed 41-32 before Brown drilled a 3-pointer, Brad Wanamaker made a layup and Robinson sank two straight layups to tie it with 15:24 left.
After a timeout, Wanamaker hit a jumper to cap the 11-0 run and give the Panthers their first lead since 4-2.
Soon after that, Pittsburgh reeled off seven straight points to go up 53-48.
To no one’s surprise, Butler wouldn’t go away.
If Mack was nervous about playing the Big East regular-season champions, it wasn’t evident by his demeanor during the Star Spangled Banner: He yawned.
Once the game started, however, the junior guard played with intensity and poise. Mack scored 16 points in the first half, sinking four 3-pointers, and the Bulldogs committed only two turnovers in taking a 38-30 lead at the break.
Because 6-foot-11 Pittsburgh center Gary McGhee clogged the lane when Butler had the ball, the Bulldogs opted to take their chances from the outside. Howard hit a pair of 3-pointers, Mack and Shawn Vanzant also scored from beyond the arc, and the Butler went 8 for 11 from the field in opening up a 20-14 lead.
Minutes later, Bulldogs reserve guard Zach Hahn connected from long range, Khyle Marshall jammed home a follow shot and Mack hit a 3 to start a 10-2 spurt that made it 30-18.
Brown then scored five points in an 11-0 Pittsburgh run that ended when Mack popped a 3-pointer from the top of the key.
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