Bulldogs heat up behind arc
The simplest way to break out of a defensive showdown is to hit a few shots.
For Butler, the offensive salvation came off the bench -- and from the three-point line.
Reserve Pete Campbell hit three three-pointers in a row midway through the second half to help No. 5 Butler pull away for a 57-46 win over No. 12 Old Dominion on Thursday afternoon. A crowd of 18,649 watched the first-round game in HSBC Arena.
Campbell keyed a 17-0 spurt -- which included five straight three-pointers -- to break up the game's defensive stranglehold.
Trailing, 32-29, A.J. Graves knocked down a three-pointer with 11:19 left to tie the game for Butler.
Then Campbell got free and hit his first three.
He knocked down two more on Butler's next two possessions to spark the spurt for the Bulldogs.
Before you could say "boo," Butler had turned a two-point deficit into a nine-point lead, 41-32, with 8:59 left to play.
"We're not the brightest coaching staff, but after Pete hit that first one, we figured out we should run to him," Butler coach Todd Lickliter said. "He's a guy who's been a tremendous shooter for us all year.
He probably understands that's his job and was anxious in the first half. In the second half, he settled down a little bit."
For the first time all game, Old Dominion's defense broke down, unable to adequately cover the three-point line.
"We knew coming in we had to defend all five players at the three-point line," Monarchs guard Drew Williamson said. "[Campbell] got open and hit that one that got him going. He made the shots. We tried to switch a lot and throw them off balance, but they set good screens and he just knocked the shots down."
Mike Green hit a three-pointer and then a layup to cap the 17-0 Butler run, giving the Bulldogs a 46-32 advantage with 7:27 left.
Old Dominion cut the lead back to nine points three times but couldn't close the gap any further.
"They had that stretch where their three-pointers went in," ODU coach Blaine Taylor said. "Butler is not a team you want to get behind on because they'll run the clock and they make their free throws."
Nothing was falling in the first half for either team as aggressive defense produced dismal offensive numbers.
ODU shot just 29.2 percent in the first half (7 of 24) and Butler just 32 percent (8 of 25) as the Monarchs took a 20-19 halftime lead.
The game featured 12 lead changes and five ties until that midway point of the second half when Butler started hitting from the outside. That opened up lanes for Green to penetrate to the basket for layups or short-range jumpers.
Graves finished with a game-high 18 points for Butler (28-6) while Green had 14 points and 10 rebounds. Brandon Crone had 12 points, and Campbell scored nine -- all in that game-changing run.
For ODU (24-9) Brandon Johnson had 11 points while Arnaud Dahi, Valdas Vasylius and Gerald Lee all added 10 points.