Butler clips Garden City in key conference showdown
El Dorado, KS-Garden City was playing uphill all night.
Javon Grant nailed five 3's and finished with 17 points, Isaac Ondekane chipped in 12, and Butler topped the Broncbusters, 79-69 Wednesday night at the Power Plant. The loss dropped Garden City to 11-5 overall and 6-5 in conference play.
"We just didn't match their physicality tonight," Head Coach, Rusty Elmore said. "We ran them in practice to get them ready for what they were going to face. But we just weren't ready, and I have to do a better job."
The Broncbusters had a miserable night shooting. They missed 14 of their 17 3-point attempts and were just 14-of-22 at the line. They were outrebounded 35-24 and their bench produced only eight points.
"We didn't play with enough energy," Elmore added.
Butler led wire to wire. Caleb Golden connected on a 15-footer, Tahjae Hill hit an off-balance jumper, and Grant, who finished 5-of-7 from beyond the arc, swished a 3-pointer from the top of the key to give Butler a 10-5 advantage. Garden City never got any closer the rest of the way.
"We knew what to expect with this team and really couldn't get anything going all night," Elmore said.
The Broncbusters trailed by 15 at half and were down by as many as 17 in the second. But they managed to make things interesting down the stretch. Buru Naivalurua's jumper in the paint sliced the deficit to 65-56 with 7:37 to go. Butler though answered moments later when Ondekane beat Larry Olayinka for a layup.
It wasn't until the final minute that the Broncbusters got any closer. Jaborri McGhee's three-point play made it an eight-point contest with 52 seconds remaining. But with a chance to cut it to six, Naivalurua missed a shot from the free throw line. Treylon Payne followed up with an offensive rebound and stick back on the other end, and the Grizzlies won their third straight game to improve to 13-4 overall and 7-4 in the Jayhawk.
Hill scored 12 points in 19 minutes for Butler, which shot 52 percent from the field and was 8-of-18 on 3s. Payne added 10 off the bench.
Naivalurua had a nice bounce back game, scoring 19 points on 9-of-14 shooting for Garden City, which lost for the third time in their last four trips to the Power Plant. DaJion Humphrey, who tied the school record with seven made 3's on Saturday vs. Cloud County, finished with 17 points in 38 minutes. McGhee chipped in 13 points, five rebounds, four assists, and three steals.