INDIANAPOLIS – Butler is getting back to full strength, and it shows all over the court.
Rontei Clarke is pulling defenders outside, Andrew Smith is exploiting them inside and Roosevelt Jones is opening things up for his teammates.
Clarke scored 16 points, Khyle Marshall had 14 and Smith added eight points and 10 rebounds as No. 15 Butler beat Duquesne 68-49 Tuesday night.
I thought our guys were ready, I thought our guys played hard, and I thought our guys played well, coach Brad Stevens said.
Butler (22-5, 9-3 Atlantic 10) needed a game like this after dealing with so many close calls – and so many injuries.
Butler’s shooters struggled early. But when they warmed up, Duquesne (8-18, 1-11) never had a chance.
Derrick Colter led the Dukes with 11 points.
No. 2 MIAMI 54, VIRGINIA 50: In Coral Gables, Fla., Reggie Johnson made a tie-breaking layup with 5.7 seconds left as the Hurricanes (22-3, 13-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) overcame a ragged offensive performance for the second game in a row to remain unbeaten in the ACC. Virginia fell to 18-8, 8-5.
MISSOURI 63, No. 5 FLORIDA 60: In Columbia, Mo., Laurence Bowers had 17 points plus 10 rebounds and the Tigers (19-7, 8-5 SEC) erased a 13-point deficit in the second half to rally past the Gators (21-4, 11-2).
Mike Rosario had 14 points for Florida.
No. 17 MARQUETTE 67, SETON HALL 46: In Newark, N.J., Vander Blue scored 19 points and the Golden Eagles (19-6, 10-3 Big East) used a 43-24 rebounding advantage to beat the Pirates (13-14, 2-12) and hold on to first place in the conference.
SAINT LOUIS 76, No. 24 VCU 62: In St. Louis, Jordair Jett scored all 16 of his points in the second half and Mike McCall, Jr. added 15 to help the Billikens (20-5, 9-2) win their eighth straight and take sole possession of first place in the Atlantic 10.
VCU slips to 21-6, 9-3.
WICHITA STATE 66, INDIANA STATE 62: In Terre Haute, Cleanthony Early scored 19 points, including the game-clinching free throws with 18 seconds left, as the Shockers (23-5, 12-4 Missouri Valley) held on for the win.
Manny Arop led the Sycamores (16-11, 9-7) with 17 points.
VALPARAISO 85, LOYOLA OF CHICAGO 76: In Chicago, Will Bogan scored 16 points, grabbed four rebounds and the Crusaders (21-7, 11-3 Horizon) nearly coughed up a big first-half lead before eventually putting away Loyola (14-13, 4-10).
No. 18 DELAWARE 69, GEORGE MASON 55: Elena Delle Donne scored 18 of her 31 points in the first half and also grabbed nine rebounds in leading the Blue Hens (23-3, 14-0) to their 18th consecutive victory. Amber Easter led George Mason (8-16, 3-10) with 14 points.
No. 21 SYRACUSE 58, RUTGERS 45: In Syracuse, N.Y., Kayla Alexander and Elashier Hall converted three-point plays to key a decisive second-half spurt, and the Orange (22-3, 10-2 Big East) denied Scarlet Knights coach C. Vivian Stringer her 900th victory.
HUNTINGTON 69, TAYLOR 64: In Upland, the No. 5 Foresters won over the No. 4 Trojans in the quarterfinals of the Crossroads tournament. Pazia Speed had 20 points and Sarah Miller-Jennings and Allison Greene each added 15 for Huntington (18-12).
BETHEL 77, GRACE 59: In Mishawaka, Juaneice Jackson scored 16 points and Jayla Starks had 12 but the Lancers fell in the quarterfinals of the Crossroads tournament. Grace fell to 18-13.