Dayton, OH – Roosevelt Jones tallied 16 points and seven rebounds to help the No. 14 Butler Bulldogs hold off Dayton, 79-73, on Saturday.
In claiming its second straight road conference victory, Butler (14-2, 2-0 A-10) extended its winning streak to 11 straight games, however lost season- leading scorer Rotnei Clarke early in the contest on a scary play.
Clarke had to be taken away on a stretcher after taking a hard foul and colliding head first with the padded area of the backboard stand. He was taken to a hospital for X-rays, however has since been released after no serious injuries were discovered.
"Rotnei's going to be fine," said Butler associate head coach Matthew Graves. "Coach Stevens is at the hospital with him and (Rotnei) is being discharged now, and his first words were 'I want to ride the bus home with the team'."
To help supplement the loss of Clarke, Andrew Smith and Khyle Marshall scored 13 and 12 points, respectively, for the Bulldogs, who also received a combined 27 points from their bench.
Vee Sanford and Dyshawn Pierre each tallied 14 points, while Pierre also grabbed nine boards for the Flyers (10-6, 0-2), who have lost four of their past six games.
Kevin Dillard added 13 points and Khari Price scored 10 off the bench in defeat.
It was a two-point game when Clarke went down with 8:13 remaining in the first half. During a fast-break, he was fouled from behind by Dayton's Matt Derenbecker and remained stagnant on the floor for several minutes. He gave a thumbs up to the crowd as he was being carted off the court.
Shortly after Clarke's exit, the Bulldogs took 23-16 edge at the seven-minute mark on a Smith jumper. Pierre scored consecutive baskets to pull the Flyers within three, but Butler followed with an 8-0 spurt, which Kellen Dunham capped with a triple, to create a double-digit margin.
After Dayton closed the gap to 35-27 by halftime, Josh Benson completed a three-point play for the first basket of the second stanza to make it a five- point game.
However, Dunham followed with a 3-pointer to begin a 9-0 run, which pushed the Bulldogs' advantage to 44-30 with 16:47 remaining.
Dayton had trouble minimizing the deficit over the next seven minutes, as Butler answered every time to keep a double-digit margin. However the Flyers made some progress following a pair of Devin Oliver free throws with 8:31 to play.
Sanford followed with a triple to bring Dayton within 59-53 and less than two minutes later buried another to make it a five-point game. He then scored a pair of baskets around a Jones layup to keep the Flyers within five, but the Bulldogs pulled away shortly after.
Smith knocked down a clutch 3-pointer before Jones split a pair from the line to build Butler's lead back up to nine at 69-60 with 3:50 to go.
A pair of Pierre and Dillard free throws around a Derenbecker 3-pointer in the final minute brought the Flyers within four at 75-71, but Butler held on at the free throw line the rest of the way to claim the win.
Butler holds a 12-10 advantage in the all-time series. Saturday's contests was the first meeting between the schools since the 1992-93 season, when they were both members of the Midwestern Collegiate Conference ... Butler shot 58.1 percent from the field compared to just 39.7 percent for the Flyers.