Tribune Star Correspondent
Butler’s Alex Barlow came into Saturday’s game against No. 1 Indiana with 18 total career points in 24 games in two seasons with the Bulldogs.
For the next few days, though, Barlow will be the big man on Butler’s campus.
Barlow scored the game-winning basket with 2.5 seconds left as Butler toppled the Hoosiers, 88-86 in overtime, in the first game of the Crossroads Classic at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
“I was looking for the options and they weren’t open,” Barlow said. “I saw the clock get to about six (seconds), so I decided to make a play.”
Cody Zeller hit a jumper with 19 seconds left in overtime to tie the game for the Hoosiers (9-1), but he and Christian Watford subbed out for Remy Abell and Will Sheehey for defensive purposes.
“The end of the game, we were going with our all-out switching call where we switch everything,” Crean said. “And just make sure we keep a man in front, get on the glass, and we didn’t do a great job of it.”
Asked to explain, Crean said, “They were running a lot of high ball screens in that situation and at the end of regulation. We wanted to continue to have that switching, because it was going to either be a drive or a 3(-pointer), and everybody had to do what they had to do.”
“We were playing offense-defense, that’s what coach Crean thought was best,” Zeller said.
“I just figured I would throw it up to the rim,” said Barlow, who finished with a career-high six points. “If I missed it, I knew they wouldn’t get a shot off.
“Zeller was out, so there really wasn’t anybody inside.”
Butler (8-2) had a chance to win in regulation. The Bulldogs, down 37-33 at halftime, took advantage on the boards to rally past the Hoosiers.
Butler shot 15-of-29 (51.7 percent) from the field in the second half and led 74-69 with 38 seconds to play in regulation after two free throws by Kellen Dunham.
But Yogi Ferrell hit a layup, then Victor Oladipo stole the inbounds pass and hit a layup to draw IU within 74-73.
Barlow hit two free throws, but Ferrell, who dribbled the ball off his foot and out of bounds before Dunham’s free throws, hit a 3-pointer with six seconds to play to tie the game.
“I knew time was winding down,” Ferrell said. “I was open, I pretty much just shot it.”
Chase Stigall missed a 3-pointer as time expired to send the game to overtime.
The teams exchanged baskets in the extra period before Zeller hit two free throws, then a layup, to put IU ahead 84-80 with 2:12 to play.
“We’re in trouble when it’s 84-80, with three of our guys sitting on the bench next to me,” said Butler coach Brad Stevens. Roosevelt Jones, Andrew Smith and Erik Fromm had all fouled out for the Bulldogs by that point.
But Rotnei Clarke and Stigall each hit 3-pointers to set up the final moments.
Clarke, the senior transfer from Arkansas who was Butler’s leading scorer coming into the game, led the Bulldogs again on Saturday with a game-high 19 points, although Oladipo harassed Clarke into aa 7-of-19 performance from the field.
“Oladipo is just a hard guy to play against,” Stevens said. “We walked out of our locker room (at halftime) and I said to (assistant coach) Matthew Graves that I had never seen a guy that athletic.”
“I was just trying to wear him down,” Oladipo said of his defense on Clarke. “I think I did a pretty good job, but not good enough, because we lost.”
Zeller said there were a lot of little things the Hoosiers need to work on after their first loss of the season. His coach knows one of the big things that they’ll need to work on.
“I’m excited about the rebounding drills we’re going to do,” Crean said. “I’m not sure there’s a lot of people that will be sharing that joy with me, but I know I’ll be excited about it, because that’s an area we need to shore up for ourselves.”
Zeller and Oladipo scored 18 points each to lead the Hoosiers. Sheehey scored 13, Ferrell scored 12 and Watford finished with 10 points.
Jones had 16 points and 12 rebounds for the Bulldogs, with Smith scoring 12, Khyle Marshall chipping in 11 and Fromm finishing with 10 points.