NEW YORK – Butler must win four games in four days for a title in its first – and perhaps last – Atlantic 10 tournament.
Doesn’t sound too crazy for the little school that made two straight NCAA championship games.
The fifth-seeded Bulldogs, who missed out on a bye in the deep A-10, pulled away late to beat Dayton 73-67 in the first round Thursday.
Tournament tough – that’s just kind of the word you have to use when you deal with those guys, Flyers coach Archie Miller said.
Butler (25-7, 11-5) rode its three-point shooting – and three-point defense – to advance to face fourth-seeded La Salle in Friday’s quarterfinals. The Bulldogs were 10 for 24 from behind the arc, while the Flyers attempted just four three-pointers.
Rotnei Clarke had 21 points and five assists to lead Butler, going 6 of 12 on three-pointers. Fellow senior Andrew Smith had 18 points and six rebounds.
They set great screens for me, Clarke said of his teammates. Especially when I’m off the ball and in transition, I got a couple of looks, and it’s all from these guys. They look for me when I’m open. It’s really an unselfish team.
Josh Benson had 18 points to lead 12th-seeeded Dayton (17-14, 7-9).
The Flyers were up 43-39 with less than 14 minutes left before Butler hit three-pointers on three straight possessions to take the lead for good.
No. 7 KANSAS 91, TEXAS TECH 63: In Kansas City, Mo., Ben McLemore scored 24 points to lead Kansas to a rout of Texas Tech, setting up an intriguing date with Iowa State in the semifinals of the Big 12 tournament.
The Jayhawks (27-5) shot 66 percent from the field (31 of 47), the best mark by any team in a Big 12 tournament game.
No. 11 KANSAS STATE 66, TEXAS 49: Rodney McGruder scored 24 points and sparked an 11-0 run in the second half, lifting Kansas State to the quarterfinals of the Big 12 tournament.
An all-conference senior who ranks in the top 10 in 14 of Kansas State’s career categories, McGruder also had a team-leading seven rebounds as the second-seeded Wildcats (26-6) whipped the Longhorns for the third time this year.
No. 18 ARIZONA 79, COLORADO 69: In Las Vegas, Nick Johnson scored 18 points and hit a contested shot with 34 seconds left, helping Arizona beat Colorado in the quarterfinals of the Pac-12 tournament.
Arizona (25-6) led by 14 in the second half, but had trouble shaking the desperate Buffaloes (21-11).
Johnson hit his shot between three defenders to put the Wildcats up four and followed teammate Mark Lyons’ two free throws by swatting Askia Booker’s three-point attempt into Colorado’s bench.
Lyons had 14 points and Solomon Hill 13 for Arizona, which moves on to face UCLA in today’s semifinals.
No. 20 MEMPHIS 81, TULANE 68: In Tulsa, Okla., Chris Crawford set career-highs with 24 points and six three-pointers, Adonis Thomas scored 17 points and Memphis beat Tulane in the quarterfinals of the Conference USA tournament.
The top-seeded Tigers (28-4) took control by scoring the final 14 points of the first half.
No. 21 UCLA 80, ARIZONA ST. 75: Shabazz Muhammad scored 12 of his 16 points in the second half, Travis Wear hit a jumper with 11 seconds left and UCLA rallied from a 15-point deficit to beat Arizona State in the quarterfinals of the Pac-12 tournament. The top-seeded Bruins (24-8) rallied behind Muhammad, who scored 10 points during a 17-4 second-half run.