Graves leads Butler over Florida Gulf Coast
Fort Myers, FL (Sports Network) - A.J. Graves scored 17 points, making all nine of his free throws, as 16th-ranked Butler pulled away for a 78-66 win over Florida Gulf Coast.
Mike Green chipped in with 16 points and grabbed six rebounds for the Bulldogs (11-1). Matt Howard and Julian Betko each netted 12 points for Butler.
Casey Wohlleb had a game-high 24 points and five assists for FGCU. Delvin Franklin scored 12 points for the Eagles (3-9), Adam Liddell and Terike Barrowes each had 10 points, with Liddell adding eight rebounds.
The Eagles stayed close late in the second half and Wohlleb's free throw had FGCU within 68-64 with 2:07 left, but the Bulldogs scored the next eight. Green's two free throws capped the burst with 45 seconds left.
The Eagles surprised the Bulldogs early by starting off on an 11-2 run. The spree was capped by two Liddell free throws with 14:44 left in the half.
Butler answered by scoring 16 of the next 24 points to pull within a point with 9:34 remaining in the half.
The teams proceeded to volley a lead before Green hit a layup with nine seconds left to knot the game up at 33 going into the half.
The Bulldogs built an eight-point lead five minutes into the second half via a Betko three-pointer. The Eagles kept chipping away and eventually tied it back up at 54 with a Barrowes layup with 9:52 left.
Saturday's game marked the first time Butler played at Florida Gulf Coast. The Bulldogs defeated the Eagles February 13, 2007 at Hinkle Fieldhouse, 79-65, in the only other matchup between these schools.
12/22 23:09:02 ET