Butler and Bucknell turned in the first March Madness barn-burner of the 2013 NCAA Tournament, with Brad Stevens’s Bulldogs grabbing the Round of 64 win, 68-56 in Lexington.
After a dismal first half that saw Bucknell score just 14 points, the game juiced up in the second half, opening up with a series of one-sided runs.
Bucknell’s Mike Muscala, who scored just two points on 1 of 8 shooting in the first half, got the Bison rolling in the second half, scoring five quick points to start. But it was the Joe Willman show, as the senior forward scored eight points a short stretch to lead help Bucknell to a 19-2 run that gave them a six point lead with just under nine minutes left.
Buter would counter however, going on a 22-5 run of their own before a Bryson Johnson three-pointer for Bucknell briefly halted the fury with two minutes left. On the run, Butler was six of 10 from the floor, with Andrew Smith leading the way with seven points.
After Johnson’s three-pointer cut the Butler lead to eight points with 2:15 left, Butler’s Rotnei Clarke effectly put the game away with a three-pointer from the right elbow following a media timeout.
Willman led all scorers with 20 points, while Clarke led Butler with 17 of his own.
With the win, Butler advances to the Round of 32, where they will play the winner of Marquette-Davidson, which will take place around 3:15 p.m. Eastern on TruTV.