By Mike Pilosof
Photo by Connor Pilosof
El Dorado, KS-Chalk Saturday up to just one of those nights. At least, that's what Bill Morosco is hoping.
Jaden Okon scored 22 points and pulled down nine rebounds, Eden Holt chipped in 21 points on 7-of-12 shooting, and Butler enacted a little revenge on Garden City, routing the 16th-ranked Broncbusters, 95-68 at the Power Plant. The loss dropped Garden City into fourth place in the Jayhawk Conference, making Wednesday's regular-season finale at home vs. Hutchinson even that more vital. A win, and the Broncbusters secure an opening-round bye in the Region Tournament.
"It seemed like everything they (Butler) threw up tonight went in," Morosco said afterwards. "But our defense is still not where we want it to be. This was arguably our worst showing of the season."
The Grizzlies shot 57 percent, were 12-of-24 from beyond the arc and turned 18 Garden City turnovers into 27 points. They also outscored the Broncbusters, 46-16 in the paint.
"We were thoroughly outplayed," Morosco added.
It was a struggle all night for Garden City. Jyre McCloud's turnover led to a runout dunk by Isaac Ondekane, and Treylon Payne took advantage of a sloppy pass and turned it into a transition layup, putting the Grizzlies up 23-11 with 11:36 to go in the first half.
"I thought we did a pretty god job of staying with early on," Morosco said.
The Broncbusters surged back with eight straight points to cut it four. Then, after Butler went back up by 13, Garden City answered with a 9-2 run capped by two Josh Nwankwo free throws that pulled the road team within six, 37-31 with 3:34 on the clock.
That's when the avalanche hit.
Over the final three minutes of the half, the Grizzlies outscored the Broncbusters 17-3. Okon rattled the rim with an emphatic slam, Holt drilled a 3 following another Garden City turnover; then setup Isaiah Williams for a three-point play before nailing an off-balance triple just before the horn, giving Butler a 54-34 halftime advantage.
"The game got away from us pretty quick," Morosco explained.
The Grizzlies kept the pressure on in the second half. Keyon Thomas picked Mike Carson's pocket-then located Ondekane who threw down a vicious right-handed dunk, Okon swished a wide-open 3, and Williams hit nothing but net from 24 feet to put Butler up, 67-36 with 14:35 remaining. They led by as many as 36 over the final 20 minutes.
Williams scored 13 points for Butler, which evened the season series with Garden City after losing to the Broncbusters by 30 on Jan. 12. Ondekane and Payne each scored 10.
Next up: Garden City vs. Hutchinson-Wednesday, Feb. 23-7:30 p.m. CDT