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Originally published January 19, 2013 at 10:36 PM | Page modified January 19, 2013 at 10:51 PM

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No. 13 Butler steals it away from No. 8 Gonzaga in thriller

Bulldogs earn third win over top-10 team this year, thanks to a steal and a buzzer-beater in the final seconds to beat the Zags.

The Associated Press

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Good, exciting game. However, I wonder why Few allowed a 5'10" guard to inbound... MORE
Watch the replay of the inbounds for the final play. Olenyk got shoved hard out of the... MORE
Olynk got fouled and no call. That's what happened when you get homered. Zags should... MORE


INDIANAPOLIS — All Roosevelt Jones wanted to do Saturday night was make a play.

He wound up stealing the ball and a victory.

The sophomore forward looped around Kelly Olynyk, stole an overthrown inbounds pass with 3.5 seconds left, took a peek at the clock and drove from midcourt into the lane for a buzzer-beating floater that gave No. 13 Butler a 64-63 victory over No. 8 Gonzaga.

It was just one more example in Butler's ever-expanding guide on how to make improbable victories possible.

"These guys make you believe," coach Brad Stevens said. "The way they play the game, how hard they play the game, they just make you believe."

Why not, given what Butler (16-2, 3-0 Atlantic 10) already has achieved this season.

The Bulldogs have won 13 straight games, including the last two without their leading scorer, Rotnei Clarke. With a win over No. 9 North Carolina in November, a win over No. 1 Indiana in December and now over No. 8 Gonzaga in January, Butler has beaten three top-10 teams in one season for the first time.

The latest came on a night when the power conferences ceded center stage to the two biggest little schools in college basketball.

And, of course, it came in the same Hinkle Fieldhouse where Oscar Robertson won two state titles and led his school to the first undefeated season in Indiana high-school basketball, where Bobby Plump delivered the winner in Milan's miraculous 1954 state title run that later became the plot for the movie "Hoosiers," and in a venue that had never before hosted a game between two top-15 college teams.

This game had all the trimmings, from Plump's return to the court to a rare game-ending rushing of the floor by Butler's students. Much to Jones' surprise, he was the reason for the postgame celebration.

"I never did it in my life," Jones said when asked about the last time he hit a buzzer-beating shot.

Gonzaga (17-2, 4-0 West Coast Conference) didn't even bother to stick around for the replay review. The Zags knew it was good.

"He's just really, really tough. He's aggressive and he's confident and that's a heck of a shot," Gonzaga coach Mark Few said after watching an eight-game winning streak end. "I've never consistently seen anyone make so many floaters from 10 to 12 feet."

The Zags were led by Elias Harris and Sam Dower, who each scored 20. Olynyk, the West Coast Conference's top scorer, finished with 14 points and seven rebounds despite spending most of the second half in foul trouble.

Butler was led by Jones' 20 points and got 14 from freshman Kellen Dunham and eight from Khyle Marshall.

GONZAGA (17-2) — Olynyk 5-12 4-5 14, Harris 8-14 4-5 20, Pangos 2-5 0-0 5, Bell, Jr. 0-1 0-0 0, Hart 0-0 0-1 0, Dranginis 0-2 0-0 0, Edi 0-1 1-2 1, Stockton 1-2 0-0 3, Karnowski 0-1 0-0 0, Dower 8-11 2-2 20, Barham 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 24-51 11-15 63.

BUTLER (16-2) — Jones 7-10 6-10 20, Marshall 3-9 2-4 8, Smith 3-5 0-2 7, Barlow 2-4 0-0 5, Dunham 4-9 2-3 14, Smeathers 0-1 0-0 0, Fromm 0-1 1-2 1, Em. Kampen 0-0 0-0 0, Woods 1-2 0-0 2, Stigall 2-3 1-2 7. Totals 22-44 12-23 64.

Halftime — Gonzaga 33-32. Three-point goals — Gonzaga 4-14 (Dower 2-2, Stockton 1-2, Pangos 1-3, Olynyk 0-1, Edi 0-1, Dranginis 0-1, Barham 0-2, Harris 0-2), Butler 8-19 (Dunham 4-8, Stigall 2-3, Smith 1-2, Barlow 1-3, Woods 0-1, Fromm 0-1, Smeathers 0-1). Fouled out — None. Rebounds — Gonzaga 26 (Harris, Olynyk 7), Butler 28 (Smith 7). Assists — Gonzaga 14 (Pangos 6), Butler 14 (Barlow 6). Total fouls — Gonzaga 19, Butler 16. A — 10,228.

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