The Wright State men's basketball team trailed by just one at the half, but Butler opened the second half with a 13-0 run and went on to a 70-52 decision over the Raiders in the first round of the Horizon League Tournament Tuesday night at Hinkle Fieldhouse.
The first half was a back-and-forth affair that saw seven ties and five lead changes. Johann Mpondo gave the Raiders a quick 4-0 lead with a pair of baskets, only to see the Bulldogs grab the lead for the first time at 11-10 on a pair of Roosevelt Jones free throws with 9:33 remaining in the period.
A Chase Stigall three put Butler up 25-20 with 4:11 to play before WSU answered with a Julius Mays three and an Armond Battle layup to tie it. After both teams exchanged layups, two Ronald Nored foul shots and one by Andrew Smith helped give the Bulldogs the slight 30-29 edge at halftime.
A dunk from Jones ignited Butler on its 13-0 run to start the second half, a run that also included six points by Khyle Marshall.
Mays finally ended the string with a three at the 14:58 mark and Wright State cut the deficit to nine at 47-38 on a Cole Darling foul shot with 9:49 remaining, but the Raiders would get no closer as the margin gradually grew to as much as 21 down the stretch.
Butler hit 12 of 21 shots the final 20 minutes to finish the game at 54 percent overall while WSU made just six of 20 attempts to end the game at 38 percent altogether. The Bulldogs also were 21 of 27 at the foul line compared to 12 of 22 for the Raiders.
Wright State, who closes the season at 13-19, was led by Darling's 12 points while Mays had 11, but only one other Raider had more than five.
Butler (19-13), who advances to the second round to face Milwaukee Friday in Valparaiso, was led by Smith's 25 points, 17 coming in the second half, while Jones had 11 and Chrishawn Hopkins 10.