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Five Things: Butler Prevails In Battle Of Bulldogs, The Number 1 Team Goes Down Again

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(credit: Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

(credit: Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

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By Andrew Kahn

There has been a growing concern over the past couple of seasons that college basketball has become a one-month sport. March Madness is awesome, but is January basketball worth getting excited about? If you watched college hoops on Saturday you have your answer—across the country there were great matchups and last-second victories.

Butler prevails in battle of Bulldogs

Hinkle Fieldhouse provided another magical moment on Saturday night when Roosevelt Jones’ runner at the buzzer gave No. 13 Butler a 64-63 victory over No. 8 Gonzaga. It was Butler’s 13th straight win and third this season over a top 10 team. The shot was set up by Jones’ steal of a floating inbounds pass near midcourt with 3.5 seconds left. Despite the dramatic finish, Brad Stevens never uncrossed his arms or appeared to celebrate in any way as he walked the sideline to shake Mark Few’s hand. Gonzaga debuted new uniforms that had a picture of a Bulldog on the front and “Bulldogs” written where the players’ names would normally be on the back, an odd choice especially considering their opponent has the same mascot.

No. 1 goes down…again

Louisville’s time at No. 1 didn’t last very long. For the second straight Saturday, the top-ranked team went down, as the Cardinals lost a heartbreaker to No. 6 Syracuse 70-68. Louisville’s turnovers on critical late-game possessions were too much to overcome, as Syracuse’s Michael Carter-Williams came up with two big steals in the final 30 seconds. Brandon Triche hit all seven of his shots in the first half and finished with 23 points to lead the Orange. Louisville’s Peyton Siva shot just 1 of 9 from the field.

No. 12 Creighton falls at Wichita

For the fourth time in five games Doug McDermott scored at least 25 points. He scored nine straight for Creighton down the stretch on Saturday to keep them in the game, but the star didn’t touch the ball on Creighton’s final two possessions and the Blue Jays lost to Wichita State 67-64. Both schools are 17-2 and worth keeping an eye on in the Missouri Valley Conference.

Kilpatrick scores 36 for Cincy

Sean Kilpatrick scored a career-high 36 points, seven of them in overtime, in a thrilling 71-69 victory over No. 25 Marquette on Saturday. Kilpatrick’s driving layup with 4 seconds left was the game winner. On a night where most players on the court struggled to score, Marquette had just 13 points at halftime and the teams shot a combined 33 percent—Kilpatrick buried five threes to carry Cincy offensively. The third straight win will likely get the Bearcats back into the top 25.

Spartans win Big Ten battle

There’s a lot of debate over whether to foul with a three-point lead in the closing seconds. The ending to the Ohio State-Michigan State game on Saturday can be used as evidence that teams should not foul. OSU’s Shannon Scott most likely expected a foul on the final possession, when he awkwardly heaved a three-pointer with four seconds left and his team down three. The result was a 59-56 victory for the No. 18 Spartans over the No. 11 Buckeyes. Tom Izzo said after the game he instructed his players to foul Deshaun Thomas if he touched the ball, but nobody else. Thomas never got a chance, despite finishing with half of his team’s points. The second-leading scorer for the Buckeyes had just six.

Andrew Kahn is a contributor to CBS Local who has written for ESPN the Magazine and The Wall Street Journal. He writes about college basketball and other sports at http://andrewjkahn.com. Email him at andrewjkahn@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter at @AndrewKahn.

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