Butler edges Hawks in A-10 opener
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Rotnei Clarke snapped out of a recent mini slump and Butler passed its first test in the Atlantic 10.
Clarke nailed six 3-pointers and netted 28 points in No. 14 Butler's Atlantic 10 debut, a 72-66 triumph over Saint Joseph's.
The Arkansas transfer Clarke, who tallied just 10 points while going 2-of-15 from beyond the arc over his last two games coming in, was 6-of-10 from 3- point range Wednesday.
Andrew Smith added 24 points -- one off his career high -- and 10 rebounds for the Bulldogs (13-2, 1-0 A-10), who have reeled off 10 straight victories.
Chris Wilson nailed four treys within the first five minutes and finished with 15 points to lead the Hawks (8-5, 0-1), who had a three-game winning streak snapped.
Clarke's triple with 7:42 left was part of a 9-0 run and gave the Bulldogs the lead for good, an advantage they didn't possess since 16:52 showed on the second-half clock. Clarke's jumper capped the swing and made it 61-56 in favor of Butler with 6:12 remaining.
A bit later, the Hawks used a mini 5-2 sprint to pull within 68-66 with 2:56 to go, but Langston Galloway missed a potential game-tying jumper with 2:06 to play.
Following two Smith free throws, Carl Jones missed a jumper, and after Roosevelt Jones turned it over for Butler, Galloway missed a pair of triples.
Alex Barlow, though, missed the front end of a 1-and-1 at the other end. But once again, the Hawks misfired twice from beyond the arc, these by Halil Kanacevic.
A pair of Clarke free throws with 2.2 ticks left sealed the win.
Wilson's four early treys helped St. Joe's jump out to a 15-9 advantage before heading into the locker room with a 40-35 edge.
This was the first time these two teams have met since Jan. 31, 1941, a St. Joe's victory. ... Prior to this season, Butler had won five straight regular season Horizon League titles before finishing third in the conference a year ago.
01/09 21:27:38 ET