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Rotnei Clarke scores 21 points, Butler beats Dayton 73-67 in Atlantic 10 first round

Rotnei Clarke scored 21 points, and Butler advanced at the Atlantic 10 tournament with a 73-67 first-round victory over Dayton on Thursday.

The fifth-seeded Bulldogs will need to win four games in four days if they want a conference tourney title in their first — and perhaps last — season in the A-10.

Clarke shot 6 of 12 from behind the 3-point arc and added five assists. Fellow senior Andrew Smith had 18 points and six rebounds.

Butler was 10 for 24 on 3-point tries, while the Flyers attempted just four. Josh Benson had 18 points to lead 12th-seeeded Dayton (17-14, 7-9).

The Bulldogs (25-7, 11-5) will face fourth-seeded La Salle in Friday's quarterfinals.

Butler, the national runner-up in 2010 and '11, could be headed along with Dayton to join the breakaway Big East basketball schools.