Old Dominion Falls To Butler, 57-46
March 15, 2007
Post-Game Press Conferences |
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) - When Butler needed a spark, Pete Campbell delivered.
Campbell hit three 3-pointers, his only baskets of the game, to spark a 17-0 run in the Bulldogs' 57-46 victory over Old Dominion in a first-round matchup Thursday between two of the six mid-majors in this year's NCAA tournament.
Butler (28-6), the fifth seed in the Midwest and tournament-tested with six appearances in 11 years, set a school record for victories in a season.
The Bulldogs will meet fourth-seeded Maryland in the second round Saturday. The Terps (25-8) beat 13th-seeded Davidson 82-70 earlier Thursday.
The Bulldogs have become one of the nation's model mid-major programs. They had equaled the team record set four years ago, when they pulled off two big upsets as a 12th seed to make it to the round of 16. And they were determined not to become a victim of a 12th seed.
Old Dominion (24-9) had won 12 of 13 games and even posted an early season victory over eventual Big East champion Georgetown, a second seed in the NCAA tournament.
It was anybody's game until the Bulldogs finally found their range. Trailing 32-29 after Valdas Vasylius hit a 3-pointer with 12:22 remaining, Butler tied it with A.J. Graves' 3 from right wing, and then Campbell found his range.
Graves led Butler with 18 points, Mike Green had 14, and Brandon Crone 12.
On this day, they struggled, going a combined 7-for-28. Dahi had 10 points, but the 6-foot-7 Vasylius, the team's leading scorer at nearly 16 points per game, missed all four of his shots in the first half and finished with 10 points on 3-for-12 shooting. Williamson, who didn't score until he converted his own steal with a fast-break layup with 16:20 left in the game, finished with two points before fouling out in the final minute.
A large contingent of fans were seated behind the Butler bench ready to cheer the Bulldogs' every move. There wasn't much to cheer about until Campbell stepped up.
Campbell, who was 62-for-109 in previous 19 games on 3s for an impressive 56.9 percent, missed his first two from long range before connecting twice in a 54-second span to break the 32-all tie. He nailed his first 3 from right wing at 10:28 and, after Brandon Johnson missed a 3 for Old Dominion, followed with a 3 from left wing for a 38-32 lead with 9:34 left.
Campbell made his third 3 from the left side, missed another, then watched Green drain one from the top of the key and follow that with a driving layup to boost the lead to 46-32 with 6:19 left.
Butler, ranked in the top 20 for 15 weeks, held Old Dominion scoreless for 7:24 during its decisive run.
A 12th seed has beaten a No. 5 in each of the last six years. Butler did it in 2003 and this year had landed the highest seed in school history, prompting many experts to pick Old Dominion for an upset.
But Butler has become accustomed at confounding the experts. Four years ago as a 12th seed, the Bulldogs upset Mississippi State and Louisville before falling to Oklahoma in the round of 16, foreshadowing George Mason's stunning run to the Final Four a year ago.
This year, Butler started making a statement in November. The Bulldogs began the season with a 40-point rout at Tulane, then won the NIT Season Tip-Off, posting victories over four teams selected for the NCAA tournament - Notre Dame, Indiana, Tennessee and Gonzaga.
Freshman center Gerald Lee (Finland) had his first collegiate double-double with 10 points and a career high 11 boards. Lee was a perfect 5-for-5 from the floor. Brandon Johnson led ODU with 11 points. Both he and Drew Williamson came up with three steals each.
Drew Williamson finished with 215 career steals and 555 career assists. He finished second all-time in steals at ODU and tenth in the CAA. Williamson also ranks seventh at ODU in all-time assists and sixth in the CAA. He joins Frank Smith ('88) as the only Monarchs to have over 200 career steals and 500 career assists. Williamson now owns ODU's career games played record with 130, folloed by Dahi and Vasylius with 129. The previous mark of 128 was held by Odell Hodge ('97) and E.J. Sherod ('97).
The Monarchs were 93-37 the last four years, and 76-25 the last three years.