Graves scored 20 points, Brandon Crone added 17 and No. 15
Butler beat Wisconsin-Green Bay 68-58 Monday night after Pete
Campbell helped erase a five-point second-half deficit with three
Campbell's 3s changed the momentum as the Bulldogs (25-4, 12-2
Horizon League) battled through a physical game after losing two of
their previous three with setbacks at Wright State on Feb. 10 and
No. 13 Southern Illinois on Saturday.
"Anyone can do what (Graves) does, not to take anything away
from him, but I think anyone on our team at any moment can do
that," Crone said.
It turned out to be Campbell, who erased Green Bay's modest lead
for good in less than 2 minutes as part of a personal 9-1 run. Mike
Green added 13 points and five assists for the Bulldogs.
"Fortunately I was able to start hitting because in the first
half my shot didn't feel real good," Campbell said. "They were
big (shots), but also Mike did a great job of getting me the ball.
We did a great job executing our offense in that stretch because it
was pretty tight at that point."
Green Bay, which last beat a ranked team in 1998, took a
five-point lead in the second half before the Bulldogs changed
tactics and tried to speed up the game by pushing the tempo off
A quick run by Butler erased the deficit, and Campbell hit his
only shots from the field to give the Bulldogs a 47-40 lead midway
through the half.
"Campbell hit two 3s in a matter of ... seconds," said Phoenix
coach Tod Kowalczyk, now 0-9 against teams ranked in the Top 25.
"One should have been a switch and the other was a lack of
communication in transition. Those were huge 3s."
Green Bay had won four of its previous five, but lost its 11th
straight game against a Top 25 opponent. The Phoenix made only one
field goal in the final 5:47.
Ryan Evanochko, who finished with 10 points, hit two free throws
to cut Butler's lead to 58-56 with 2:19 to play, but Graves
answered with a 3-pointer and Crone grabbed a rebound off Mike
Schachtner's missed 3-point shot and was fouled.
Crone hit both of the ensuing free throws to make it 63-56 and
Green Bay never came back within striking distance, missing six of
its final seven shots.
"I thought it would be a national stage for us to take
advantage of an opportunity," Kowalczyk said. "We let an
opportunity slip away."
Graves, who went 6-of-17 from the field and 3-of-11 from beyond
the arc, never stopped shooting.
"That's what A.J. does," Campbell said. "Even if he's missing
at times all of us have all the confidence in the world he's going
to make his next one."
Generously listed at 6-foot-1 and 160 pounds, Graves had
suffered from a stomach illness against Southern Illinois. He said
he felt better, even though he wasn't sharp from the field.
"I'm doing fine," Graves said. "I've still got my legs, I'm
keeping my weight up. It's fine."
He slashed through the lane and hit a layup to make it 54-46
with just under 6 minutes to play, and Green Bay's drought began
after Troy Cotton's 3-pointer made it 55-51. A three-point play by
Tillema cut Butler's lead to 56-54 with 2:47 left, but the Phoenix
could get no closer.
Graves got Butler back on track during its last road game of the
year after the Bulldogs easily handled the Phoenix in January by
hitting 14-of-23 3-pointers in an 80-59 victory.
It wasn't nearly as easy Monday night after a 10-of-25
performance behind the arc even though the Phoenix got off to a
Schachtner finally scored the first field goal for Green Bay
more than 6 minutes into the game after Butler opened an early
seven-point lead and scored 18 of its first 20 points off 3-point
shots. Schachtner didn't let the Bulldogs get too far out in front,
hitting back-to-back field goals as the Phoenix took a 30-28 lead
"We played good against a ranked opponent, but the fact is it's
still a loss," Evanochko said.