The 13th-ranked Butler Bulldogs survived the craziest college basketball game of the season Saturday night, beating No. 8 Gonzaga 64-63 at the buzzer.
Roosevelt Jones provided the heroics for Butler. After stealing a poor inbounds pass, Jones streaked down the court and hit a running floater in the lane as time expired at the Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
It was a fitting end to what was surely the best college basketball game of the year.
The two teams battled valiantly throughout the night, showing relentless hustle and inspiring effort for all 40 minutes. They traded leads throughout the game, including an insane back-and-forth sequence that led up to Jones' epic buzzer-beater.
With his clutch bucket, Jones finished the game with 20 points. He shot 7-of-10 from the field and added five rebound and four assists. He did commit seven turnovers, but after he pulled a Jimmy Chitwood in the famed Hinkle Fieldhouse, his mistakes can be forgiven.
As great as Jones was, Butler wouldn't have had a chance without Alex Barlow. The scrappy point guard played lockdown defense on Kevin Pangos, and he even added a go-ahead bucket in the final minute.
On the other side, Gonzaga was led by Elias Harris and Sam Dower, who each went for 20 points in 22 and 24 minutes of floor time, respectively. Unfortunately for the Zags, their efforts weren't enough to pull off the victory.
It was a beautiful game, and it's a shame somebody had to lose. Both crews of Bulldogs should be proud of their performances.
The meeting at Hinkle Fieldhouse brought back plenty of Hoosiers movie images, as Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times mentioned.
Watching Butler-Gonzaga at Hinkle, I am reminded that if they were ranking Hoosiers characters, Shooter remains an unbeaten number-one..— Bill Plaschke (@BillPlaschke) January 20, 2013
Dickie V was in the house, and he was loving the environment at Hinkle.
QUALITY TEAMS BUTLER - GONZAGA Great atmosphere— Dick Vitale (@DickieV) January 20, 2013
Brian Windhorst of ESPN pointed out that Kelly Olynyk is carrying on a hallowed tradition at Gonzaga.
Is it me or does Gonzaga always seem to have a big guy with crazy hair?— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) January 20, 2013
As Windhorst's ESPN colleague Dana O'Neill said, Butler's success without Rotnei Clarke (16.3 points per game) was incredible.
Just a reminder: Butler is up 3 with 5 minutes to play on the No. 8 team in the country... without their leading scorer.— Dana O'Neil (@ESPNDanaOneil) January 20, 2013
But the Tweet of the Night goes to Andy Katz of ESPN.
No words. Butler with the win. If you don't appreciate Butler and Gonzaga and what each mean to the sport then I don't know what to say.— Andy Katz (@ESPNAndyKatz) January 20, 2013
Amen, brother. Amen.
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