INDIANAPOLIS – Butler figured out a simple way to win without Rotnei Clarke.
Go hard inside and play lockdown defense.
On a night Andrew Smith scored 15 points and Kellen Dunham added 11, the Bulldogs completely bottled up Richmond’s shooters and rebounders and pulled away for a 62-47 victory in their first Atlantic 10 home game.
Our whole team was focused and you could tell just by the way we came out tonight, Butler coach Brad Stevens said. We had to focus on the game, and I didn’t have any question that we would do that. Sometimes when you lose a guy, it heightens your focus a little bit.
Whatever the impact, losing Clarke to a severely sprained neck didn’t slow down the Bulldogs (15-2, 3-0) one bit.
They will take a 12-game winning streak into Saturday’s home showdown against No. 8 Gonzaga.
Wednesday night’s performance may go down as the most rewarding victory for Stevens.
Butler didn’t flinch when Richmond (11-7, 1-2) started switching defenders, and it wound up using its size advantage to dominate the glass. The Bulldogs outrebounded Richmond 53-20 with a staggering 20 offensive rebounds to 14 defensive rebounds for Richmond.
MARYLAND 51, No. 14 NORTH CAROLINA STATE 50: In College Park, Md., Alex Len dropped in a missed shot by teammate Pe’Shon Howard with 0.9 second left, giving the Terrapins (14-3, 2-2 ACC) a stunning victory.
Howard drove the left side and came up short on a 5-footer, but the 7-foot-1 Len grabbed the rebound and laid it in. After a failed desperation heave by the Wolfpack (14-3, 3-1), thousands of students stormed the court to celebrate Maryland’s first win over a ranked team since March 3, 2010.
No. 17 MISSOURI 79, GEORGIA 62: In Columbia, Mo., Earnest Ross scored 15 points to lead the Tigers (13-3, 2-1 SEC).
No. 18 MICHIGAN ST. 81, PENN ST. 72: In State College, Pa., Adreian Payne scored 20 points after spending the first half on the bench following a morning scuffle with teammate Brandon Dawson, and the Spartans (15-3, 4-1 Big Ten) held on.
No. 1 BAYLOR 90, KANSAS STATE 69: In Manhattan, Kan., Brittney Griner scored 29 points for the Bears.
No. 4 DUKE 58, VIRGINIA TECH 26: In Durham, N.C., Elizabeth Williams scored 20 points to keep the Blue Devils unbeaten.
No. 18 DAYTON 95, LA SALLE 47: In Dayton, Amber Deane scored 20 points as the Flyers shot a season-best 57.6 percent.