Not long after Rotnei Clarke's one-handed off-balance buzzer-beating runner from 30 feet propelled Butler into the Maui Invitational semifinals, reporters asked Bulldogs coach Brad Stevens for his reaction to the shot.
"I've been working on that one with him," Stevens deadpanned.
Of course, Stevens was kidding because the shot Clarke sank to secure Butler's 72-71 win over Marquette was one the sweet-shooting senior probably wouldn't even bother to try in a game of HORSE. Two Marquette players pursued him as he dribbled up court to try to force the ball out of his hands, yet Clarke decided to reverse directions and throw up a prayer that was answered as the ball went in without hitting the rim.
The shot from Clarke was enormous for a Butler team seeking to bounce back from a discouraging blowout loss at Xavier last Tuesday. The Bulldogs still didn't do a great job of freeing Clarke and fellow perimeter shooter Kellen Dunham for outside shots, but they played more consistent defense and they got an efficient 24 points from junior forward Khyle Marshall.
Clarke added 20, but the Arkansas transfer made just 7 of the 21 shots he attempted and he had missed 1o of 13 3-pointers prior to the game winner. Thankfully for Butler, he made the one that mattered most.
"It was just kind of a scramble play," Clarke told reporters afterward. "I was dribbling around, and I almost thought about flipping it to Roosevelt Jones, who was going down the lane line, just to have him drive and make a play. I ended up keeping it, and got through and got around a couple of guys, and just let it up there, and luckily it went in."
(Thanks, @MattNorlander for the video)
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