- Dana O'Neil, ESPN Senior Writer
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WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Here’s a quick look at Butler’s 60-58 win Old Dominion in the second round of the NCAA tournament from the Verizon Center.
Overview: Cue the music. We have our first ridiculous shining moment, a buzzer-beater extraordinaire that keeps last year’s Cinderella alive.
Turning point: Shawn Vanzant’s frenetic fiasco turned into pure art for Butler. The guard’s drive in the final seconds went haywire as he slipped but the ball bounced high enough that Andrew Smith was able to tip it and keep it alive. The ball fall softly into Matt Howard’s hands and the senior put the ball back as the buzzer sounded for the win.
Key player: Howard. He wasn’t the highest score on the floor but he was easily the most critical. The senior was everywhere, most critically in the right spot in the last seconds. He scored 15, grabbed five rebounds and dished out two assists.
Key stat: In order to win this game, Butler had to keep up with Old Dominion on the boards. The Monarchs came into the game fourth in the nation in rebounding margin. Not only did the Bulldogs keep up, they beat ODU at its own game. Butler ended up with a 29-27 rebounding edge.
Miscellaneous: Smith is already a good player for Butler. He could be a great one by the time he’s done. Smith has a sweet jump hook and is tough to move around in the post. He took a nasty hit with five minutes left, leaving the court with a cut near his right eye. ... The Bulldogs got some big minutes from junior Garrett Butcher. The sub, who averages just 1.6 points per game, scored six and grabbed five critical rebounds.
What’s next: Butler will meet either top-seeded Pittsburgh or No. 16 UNC-Asheville on Saturday here at the Verizon Center.