By Cliff Brunt, The Sports Xchange
INDIANAPOLIS -- Rotnei Clarke had 24 points and nine assists to lead No. 9 Butler to an 83-71 win over Temple on Saturday night.
Clarke, who had missed three straight games with a neck injury, made 13 of 14 free throws for the Bulldogs (17-3, 4-1 Atlantic 10), who bounced back from a loss at LaSalle on Wednesday.
Khyle Marshall scored 19 points and Kellen Dunham added 17 for Butler.
Khalif Wyatt scored 16 of his 22 points in the first half for Temple (13-6, 2-3). Scootie Randall scored 13 points and Anthony Lee added 12 for the Owls.
Butler led by three at halftime, then started the second half with a flurry. A put-back dunk by Marshall, who followed up with a long 2-pointer on an assist from Clarke gave Butler a 44-34 lead.
Clarke then hit a 3-pointer from about six feet behind the 3-point line to push the lead to 49-38.
Temple rallied again. An 8-0 run, highlighted by a pair of 3-pointers by Randall, cut Butler's lead to 54-51. A 3-point play by Temple's Randall tied the score at 56.
Butler came back with an alley-oop dunk from Marshall on an assist from Clarke and two 3-pointers by Dunham to take a 64-58 lead. Clarke found an open Roosevelt Jones for a layup to give the Bulldogs a 70-60 lead.
Temple closed to within six points in the final minute, but Clarke made six of six free throws in the final 27.7 seconds to put the game out of reach.
Wyatt scored on a pair of three pointers to give Temple an early 8-2 lead.
Clarke was fouled twice on 3-pointers and made five of the six free throws to cut Temple's lead to 10-9.
Temple went on another run, and a 3-pointer by Wyatt put the Owls up 21-14.
Butler rallied with back-to-back 3-pointers by Dunham, cutting Temple's lead to a point, and a driving layup by Clarke gave Butler a 22-21 lead.
Temple took a 26-24 lead before Butler went on a run. A 30-foot pass from Clarke and dunk by Kameron Woods tied the score, then Clarke and Dunham hit 3-pointers in a 10-0 run that gave the Bulldogs a 34-26 lead.
Temple hung tough, and a 3-pointer by Jake O'Brien with two seconds left cut Butler's lead to 37-34 at halftime.
NOTES: Temple won the Atlantic 10 regular-season title last year. ... Dunham averaged 13.3 points in the games that Clarke missed. He averages 10.9 points overall. ... It was the first meeting in history between the schools. ... Jones was Atlantic 10 Player of the Week for games Jan. 14-20.