Butler 79, Louisville 71

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BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA (TICKER) —Darnell Archey and Butler continue to make up for lost time.

Archey drilled a career-high eight 3-pointers and scored 26 points and the 12th-seeded Bulldogs rode his hot hand for a 79-71 upset of No. 4 Louisville in the second round of the East Region.

Butler (27-5) used an amazing shooting display to post its second straight upset after defeating Mississippi State in the first round. After the game, Bulldogs forward Joel Cornette said that his team was “making up for lost time” after being snubbed from the tournament last year with a 25-5 record.

The Bulldogs trailed by 15 points early in the first half before it caught fire from beyond the arc. Archey nailed six 3-pointers in the second half and made 8-of-9 for the game.

“It doesn’t surprise me,” Butler coach Todd Lickliter said. “I’ve seen Darnell make 33 3-pointers in a row one day in practice. In fact, I’m more surprised if he misses.”

“It was amazing,” Archey said. “I was in the zone. I felt like Michael Jordan in ’92 against the Blazers. My teammates just kept getting me the ball with wide-open looks.”

Archey’s final 3-pointer gave the Bulldogs a 73-69 advantage with 1:31 remaining. The Cardinals responded with a layup by freshman Francisco Garcia.

With Louisville administering heavy pressure, Brandon Miller sliced through the defense and fed Duane Lightfoot Jr. for a layup and a four-point lead. Reece Gaines misfired on the other end and Archey, a 97 percent foul shooter, hit a pair from the line to seal it.

Gaines nailed six 3-pointers and scored 22 of his 26 points in the second half in his final game for Louisville (25-7), which was bidding to reach the regionals for the first time since 1997.

“I didn’t want to take on the (whole) offense,” Gaines said. “Whenever I score 10 points, it means other guys are scoring and we’re playing well as a team.”

Butler, the lowest remaining seed in the field, meets top seed Oklahoma on Friday in Albany, New York.

“We expected to win this game,” Cornette said. “On paper, we don’t match up with anybody and no one thinks we can win. What matters most is that we’re still playing for a national championship and we’re still here.”

The Bulldogs shot 64 percent (14-of-22) from beyond the arc, draining 8-of-13 in the second half. The 14 3-pointers matched a season high.

Louisville dominated the early part, bolting to an 18-5 lead on Gaines’ layup just over seven minutes into the game. Otis George scored for a 24-9 advantage near the midway point of the first half.

“When you’re in that situation, there are two things you can do,” Miller said. “You can lay down or you can grit your teeth and give it your all. We looked at each other in the huddle and chose to grit our teeth, get a little tougher, play a little harder.”

The game turned when Butler ran off 14 straight points to climb within 26-24 on Mike Monserez’s 3-pointer with 4:35 left. The Bulldogs’ 2-3 zone defense suffocated the Cardinals in that stretch.

“The zone did slow us down,” Louisville coach Rick Pitino said. “We did a great job of executing our man offense. They had difficulty guarding us man-to-man. It really wasn’t our offense, it was defense.”

Monserez, who scored 14 points, had a pair of 3-pointers in that run and Butler’s surge continued. Archey drained a 3-pointer and Cornette’s layup provided a 34-33 halftime edge.

A layup by Cornette ignited a 13-3 tear for the Bulldogs early in the second half. Archey drained a pair of 3-pointers and Lightfoot’s layup gave Butler its largest lead at 50-39 with 14:33 to go.

“We calmed down and played our game,” Archey said. “We weren’t being the toughest team out there and that’s what you have to be to win.”

Gaines responded with eight points as Louisville ran off the next 10 points to cut the deficit to one point. Gaines finally tied it at 52-52 with 9:25 left.

A 3-pointer by Archey gave Butler the lead for good and Lightfoot added two free throws for a 59-54 edge with less than seven minutes left. Gaines tried to bring Louisville back, but Archey nailed three more 3-pointers and Monserez added one.

“I think Butler is a great team,” Pitino said. “They made 14 3-pointers and we made 11. They made all of the big plays.”

Butler’s zone defense provided open looks for Louisville, but its two freshmen, Garcia and Taquan Dean, were off the mark. Garcia made 2-of-6 from beyond the arc and Dean, who was in foul trouble, was 1-of-3.

Cornette and Lightfoot each netted 14 points and Monserez and Miller combined for 15 of the team’s 21 assists. Cornette led all players with 10 rebounds as the Bulldogs managed a 28-27 edge on the glass.

Louisville was also hurt by the lack of production from starting center Marvin Stone, who ended his troubled career with two points and four rebounds. Stone, a former McDonald’s All-American, was a transfer from Kentucky and never found his niche with Pitino’s program.

Butler’s school-record 27th victory surpassed last year’s total of 26. It has won 77 games over the last three years.

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