EL DORADO – A 3-pointer at the buzzer bounced on the rim not once, but twice before eventually falling through the basket, lifting No. 6 Hutchinson to an improbable 82-81 come-from-behind victory over Butler on Wednesday at the Power Plant.
The last-second shot was knocked down by J.J. Rhymes, who finished the game with 41 points – 32 of which came in the second half. His performance helped Hutchinson (11-1 overall, 8-1 conference) overcome a 26-point lead by Butler, who led for more than 39 minutes in the contest.
Hutchinson scored the first basket of the game, but then missed 13 consecutive shots and went on a scoring drought that lasted 10:54. Rhymes hit a layup at the 8:54 mark, but by that time, Butler had made a 23-1 run.
Butler led 41-23 at the half, and added two more points on free throws at the start of the second half after a second technical on Hutchinson head coach Steve Eck, who was ejected from the contest.
Hutchinson would use a 14-0 run to close the gap. Justin Criddle made a pair of free throws with 2:40 remaining to make it a 73-67 lead, stopping a Butler scoreless streak that had lasted nearly five minutes.
Butler still was clinging to an 81-76 lead with 16.3 seconds remaining after Bouchum made two free throws. After a three-pointer by Hutch’s Curtis Hollis cut Butler’s lead to two, the Dragons fouled to put Justin Criddle to the line for two shots with 6.9 seconds left. Criddle missed both shots, setting the stage for the final shot.
Butler will finish the first semester with a 7:30 p.m. home game Saturday against Cloud County.