By Jim Johnson, The Sports Xchange
INDIANAPOLIS - Butler coach Brad Stevens said power gave the Bulldogs an advantage, and that's exactly what Roosevelt Jones provided, leading the way with a powerful attack that featured 24 points and six rebounds to lead the No. 17 Butler Bulldogs to a 70-57 win over Penn on Wednesday night.
"I feel like I can make every shot I take," Jones said. "It just so happened today that most of my shots were falling in."
Khyle Marshall added 14 points and Kellen Dunham had 10 for Butler (11-2), which has won eight straight.
"I thought our guys played really well and carried us tonight," Stevens said. "I thought we won the game because of power."
Miles Cartwright had 15 points and Tony Hicks had 10 for Penn (2-10), which has lost five in a row. The Quakers pulled within two points, 42-40, early in the second half on Darien Nelson-Henry's jumper. But then the Bulldogs went on a 10-2 run.
Andrew Smith, who had nine points and five rebounds, scored a free throw and Marshall made baskets to give the Butler a 47-40 lead with 12:19:16 left. Then Butler's Dunham hit a 3-pointer and Marshall scored again to spur a 10-point lead, 52-42, midway through the second half.
"We just needed to have poise and patience and not try to hit a homerun every time we get the ball," Penn coach Jerome Allen said.
Penn's Cameron Gunter scored and Tony Hicks hit a 3-pointer and a short jumper to get the Quakers within three, 52-49, with 10:07 left.
The Bulldogs answered with a 10-0 run to extend the lead again. Jones hit three baskets while Dunham and Smith each scored two free throws to give Butler a 62-49 lead.
Cartwright then hit a 3-pointer for the Quakers and Henry Brooks scored two free throws to make it 62-54, but the Quakers never cut the deficit any further.
The Bulldogs led by as much as 16. Smith scored two free throws with 1:16 left to put the Bulldogs up 70-54. At the same time, the Quakers never found a way to get in a groove when it came to rebounding. They were outrebounded 36-21 and only had three offensive rebounds -- all coming in the second half.
"We keep losing games because we don't rebound and we don't value the ball," Allen said. "It's just a matter of having a sense of urgency about you to where you won't surrender."
Not having that urgency proved to be costly.
The Bulldogs had 18 second-chance points, while Penn had just four. Butler had 36 points in the paint; the Quakers had 16.
Jones had 15 first-half points for the Bulldogs, who built as much as an eight point lead, but the Quakers shot 5 of 7 from behind the arc in the first half alone to stay in the game.
Cartwright hit back-to-back 3-pointers to give Penn a 10-8 lead early in the first half. Later Steve Rennard hit a 3-pointer to make it 16-13. The Bulldogs missed four straight shots before Jamal Lewis hit a 3-pointer to tie the game at 18 with 9:19 left in the first half.
Butler jumped to a 23-18 lead on a dunk by Marshall and a shot by Rotnei Clarke. But then the Quakers struck again, this time on a 3-pointer by Tony Hicks to make it 23-21.
Clarke leads the team in scoring, but had just six points against the Quakers.
"He wasn't as good tonight as he's been," Stevens said. "That doesn't mean he won't be great tomorrow, that doesn't mean he won't be great the next day. He was just having one of those games. It was the same level of attention as he's gotten in every other game."
Butler went on a 6-2 run late in the half to take a 31-23 lead.
Jones, Marshall and Smith each scored to give the Bulldogs their largest lead of the half, a 35-29 edge at halftime.
NOTES: Butler has now won its first game in January for eight straight seasons. ... The Quakers remain one win away from becoming the 11th NCAA Division I team to reach 1,700 wins as a program. ... Smith now has 502 rebounds in his career.