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by Tony Lamont

The Butler Bulldogs and the Michigan State Spartans are preparing to battle it out for their chance at the NCAA National Championship on Monday night. The Butler Bulldogs took to the floor during warm-up and seemed to have that “Quiet Resolve” that coach, Brad Stevens, has focused on throughout the tournament.

The question of whether Butler would have an advantage playing in their home State was answered pretty quickly. The Butler fans came out in strong numbers to cheer on their bulldogs. They came from all across the state of Indiana, and from all over the country; and in my opinion, they far out-numbered the Michigan State Fans.   Butler fans were pumped, primed, loud and proud!

In the initial opening moments of the game, the Michigan State Spartans jump to a quick lead when sophomore guard, Korie Luscious, sank a 3-pointer with just 24 seconds off the clock. Butler then takes the ball down the floor, and after a missed three from Slelvin Mack, a rebound and assist from forward Raymar Morgan, Luscious drains another three and Michigan takes a six nothing lead.

It was almost two minutes before Butler would put points on the board. Gordon Hayward pulled down a defensive rebound off of a missed Michigan State three, then the Bulldogs took the ball down the floor, and after an assist from Ronald Nored, Gordon Hayward put Butler on the board with a three of his own. After a turn-over from Michigan States’ Delvon Roe, Shelvin Mack dishes the ball to Hayward, who drained another three, and tied the game at six all.

The game went back and forth throughout the first half and ended-up in a 28–28 tie going into the locker room. The second half started the same as the first, with a Michigan State  3-pointer from guard Korie Luscious. And as in the first half, Butler’s, Gordon Hayward, answered the Spartans with 2-points from the free throw line. The scoring went back and forth in the second half until both teams went cold. Butler went more than 10 minutes without scoring a field-goal. Then with 01:41 seconds left to play in the game, Gordon Hayward took a three point shot and missed, and out of nowhere, Butler junior guard Shawn Vanzant made a powerful move, grabbed the rebound, and made a falling out-of-bounds pass to Hayward who laid it up and gave Butler a 4-point lead of 50-46 with just 01:36 seconds left on the clock.

Michigan State pulls within one-point after Draymon Green sinks both shots from the charity stripe after a Gordon Hayward foul. Then with just 00:08 seconds left on the clock, Michigan States’ Draymar Green missed a jumper and Butler sophomore Ronald Nored pulls down the rebound and is fouled by Green with 00:06 seconds left in the game. Nored sinks both shots and gives the Bulldogs a 52-49 lead. Michigan State then calls a time-out to set-up a play to try and get the ball in the hands of Michigan States’ Korie Lucious.

Michigan State inbounds the ball and gets it to Lucious, who is then fouled by Butlers’ Vanzant (a planned strategy) putting Lucious on the line with only 00:02 seconds left in the game. Lucious hits the first free-throw, misses his second and the rebound is pulled down by Butlers’ Gordon Hayward and time expires!

Butler wins the game 52-50, and extends their winning streak to 25-games and a chance to play one more game, on the biggest stage for college basketball, “The National Championship.”

 Butler will face Duke on Monday, the tournament’s overall number one seed. Many people are wondering what will Butler do? I say – “they’ll do what they’ve done!  Play with a “Quiet Resolve” and strength from a place that no one seems to understand.”  But the coaches and the players understand! It’s a small liberal arts college that turns out winners, and the place is called Butler.

Go Dawgs!!!!

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