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Butler easily handles Richmond

The SportsXchange

INDIANAPOLIS -- Butler was without its best 3-point shooter, so the Bulldogs simply crushed Richmond with brute force.

Andrew Smith had 15 points and seven rebounds to help No. 13 Butler defeat Richmond 62-47 on Wednesday night in its first game without leading scorer Rotnei Clarke.

Clarke, a point guard who is one of the nation's best 3-point shooters, suffered a neck injury after being fouled and crashing into the basket support last Saturday at Dayton. The Bulldogs adjusted their focus and outrebounded the Spiders 53-20.

"We needed to," Butler coach Brad Stevens said. "That was our advantage tonight. We talked about it all week."

Richmond also was without a key player, and it was a factor on the boards. Junior forward Derrick Williams sat out his fourth straight game with a left ankle sprain. Williams, 6-foot-8 and 275 pounds, averaged nearly 14 points and seven rebounds before the injury.

"I thought their size -- not just their height, but their physicality and their size inside -- was a little bit too much for us," Richmond coach Chris Mooney said.

Roosevelt Jones helped pick up the scoring slack with 10 points, 12 rebounds and four assists for the Bulldogs (15-2, 3-0 Atlantic 10), who won their 12th straight game.

Darien Brothers scored 12 points for Richmond (11-7, 1-2), which had won its previous two games. No other Richmond players scored in double figures.

It was the third time in six games that Butler had held an opponent to 50 or fewer points, and it was a season-low point total for the Spiders.

With Clarke out, others had to handle the ball more than usual for Butler. Stevens said the Bulldogs adjusted well, committing just 11 turnovers. He said Jones and Alex Barlow handled the ball especially well.

The Bulldogs scored 16 points in the paint and outrebounded the Spiders 27-11 in the first half. Barlow made a 3-pointer on an assist from Jones in the closing seconds of the first half to give Butler led 33-21 at the break.

Jones had nine points and eight rebounds in the first half for Butler, which led by as many as 12 points in the first 20 minutes. The Bulldogs held the Spiders to 8-for-28 shooting in the first half, allowing the Bulldogs to get away with 41 percent shooting before the break.

The Bulldogs got their offense rolling early in the second half. A 3-pointer by Andrew Smeathers gave Butler a 46-26 lead.

Butler led 50-32 before Richmond rallied. Brothers scored eight points in a 9-0 run that cut Butler's lead to 50-41 with 7:29 remaining.

Butler stood strong. A 3-pointer by Kellen Dunham pushed the lead back to 58-43 with 2:50 to play.

Richmond's poor shooting wouldn't allow the Spiders to get any closer.

"Even when we kind of got back in it, made that nice run, we had a couple looks down nine that would have made a big difference," Mooney said.

Butler will host ESPN's College GameDay before welcoming Gonzaga to Hinkle Fieldhouse on Saturday. Stevens has great respect for Gonzaga.

"The way they schedule, they'll play anyone anywhere as long as they come back to Spokane," he said.

Clarke's absence didn't cost Butler against Richmond, but it might against Gonzaga.

"Dunham is not Clarke at this time," Mooney said. "You spend so much time worrying about Clarke's shooting. They're a different team without him."

NOTES: Kellen Dunham finished with 11 points. ... Richmond's Darien Brothers entered the game ranked third in the nation in 3-point percentage at 51.1 percent. He made just 1 of 7 against Butler. ... Richmond defeated Butler 69-68 in the 2004 Fiesta Bowl Classic, the only previous meeting between the schools. ... Richmond trailed at halftime despite committing just two turnovers. The Spiders finished with six. ... Rotnei Clarke averaged 16.3 points per game and had already made 59 3-pointers this season, shooting 44 percent from beyond the arc.

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