In a game that saw 20 lead changes, 16 ties and neither team holding more than a four-point advantage the entire game, the Wright State men's basketball team came up just short, falling to Butler 63-62 Friday night at WSU's Nutter Center.
The Raiders led by four twice in the early going, including 14-10 on a Matt Vest three with 9:12 remaining in the first half, but the Bulldogs answered with a 15-7 run to turn the tables and go up four at 25-21.
Butler led 27-25 at the break as the Bulldogs hit 11 of 22 shots from the field in the opening 20 minutes, but were just one of 10 from three-point range and four of eight at the foul line. WSU, meanwhile, shot 39 percent overall, were three of seven from behind the arc and four of six at the stripe.
A 6-0 Raider burst, four by Johann Mpondo, put the Raiders back in front 37-33, only to see the Bulldogs answer with a 10-2 run to go ahead 43-39 with 9:15 to play. The two teams were then tied four times until a Julius Mays three at the 1:55 mark put Wright State up 57-54.
Andrew Smith responded with a three of his own to again tie the game and after Mays followed with two free throws, the Butler center connected on another triple and Ronald Nored hit two foul shots to make it 62-59 Bulldogs with 30 seconds remaining.
On WSU's next possession, John Balwigaire was fouled on a three attempt and hit all three free throws to again tie the game with 21 seconds left.
That set the stage for Nored, who was fouled with two seconds left and made the first of two foul shots. In trying to intentionally miss the second, however, he stepped over the foul line too early, giving Wright State one last chance as Julius Mays' three attempt at the buzzer clanged off the rim.
Butler continued its hot shooting in the second half, shooting 63 percent to end up at 57 percent overall while the Raiders shot 44 percent to finish at 42 percent. WSU, though, was six of 15 from three compared to three of 16 for the Bulldogs and hit 16 of 19 free throws while Butler was just eight of 16.
Mays led all scorers with 24 for Wright State and added seven rebounds while Mpondo had 12 and Reggie Arceneaux 11.
Smith paced Butler (9-7, 3-1 Horizon) with 19 points, 13 in the second half, while Khyle Marshall had 14 off the bench, 10 after halftime, and Nored chipped in 11.
Wright State (8-9, 3-2 Horizon) faces another tough Horizon League test on Sunday as the Raiders host Valparaiso (10-6, 3-1 Horizon), who won at Detroit Friday 73-71 on a layup at the buzzer. Game time is 3:00.