Butler advances to the Sweet 16 after a wild finish beating Pittsburgh, 71-70. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Man, oh man, it was another big finish for the Butler Bulldogs. And Matt Howard was their hero, once again. After a game-winning tip-in versus Old Dominion, he did close to the same. After a rebound from a missed shot, Nasir Robinson would foul him, which would set up the game-winning free-throw for Butler to advance to the Sweet 16. It must have felt great, too, as the Bulldogs knocked off the number-one seeded Panthers.

Many complained about the inconsiderate foul produced by Robinson. Robinson rightfully takes the blame.

“I take the blame, man. I take the blame for the loss,” Robinson said.

Robinson sat there, in the locker room, heads down. Just sad. You could barely hear his voice. With that, Howard would lead the Bulldogs off the game-winning free-throw with .8 seconds left. However, before that happened, Shelvin Mack almost turned out like Robinson. He would foul Pittsburgh at mid-court with 1.4 seconds left. After that, Gilbert Brown would hit the first free-throw to tie the game, but missed the second, which led to Robinson fouling Howard.

“I’ve been playing basketball my whole life and I know I shouldn’t have done that. It was a stupid play,” Robinson said. “It wasn’t the ref’s fault. It was my fault.”

Matt Howard makes the game-winning free-throw
to advance Butler in the tournament. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Robinson would try answering another question, but choking up, he just turned his head side to side with a towel over his head. The game potentially could have went to overtime, as Butler didn’t have any timeouts and would have to chuck up shot with less than a second left. But thanks to Robinson, Butler got out with a victory.

“I was really surprised,” Howard said. “I felt his arm come across mine, so I just threw the ball to the rim.”

Howard made the first shot, but had to miss the second, in which he did. After that, game over. Mack led the Bulldogs with 30 points. Mack would laugh a little about his foul he made that could have cost the Bulldogs the game.

“It was the dumbest mistake of my life,” he said.

Butler will have to face the Wisconsin Badgers next. Like coach Brad Stevens has been saying, Butler is not better than everybody, but they were lucky enough to have the ball last.

“We’re not better than Old Dominion. We’re not better than Pittsburgh,” Stevens said. “We just had the ball last.”

But it doesn’t matter about having the ball last or not, Butler finds ways to win. And if they continue to do that, they are on their way back to Cinderella road just like last year. Matt Howard has been the key for them, and he is continuing to be so.

Solid win by Butler. It’s going to be crazy at the campus now, like last year.

“You win two games by three points, it’s going to be pretty crazy,” Howard said.

You bet.


Low price, available in multiple styles and colors!