After taking a six-point halftime lead, the Butler Bulldogs were able to keep the VCU Rams at-bay for much of the second half, stay just out of reach for much of the half. Just like the start of the game, VCU came out of the locker room on fire, using a 7-0 run to start the half to reclaim the lead. But again, Butler battled back, jumping back into the lead and beginning to pull away with 10 minutes to go in the second half.
Butler’s been great at protecting a lead all tournament long, quelling runs and staying just in front of its opponents with the game winding down and Saturday’s Final Four matchup was no exception. Even as VCU looking to have momentum, cutting the Bulldogs’ lead to four with a minute to go, there never appeared to be a sense of panic on the Butler side of the ball. Matt Howard took over, hitting two free throws and a lay-in to push the lead back to eight, all but ending VCU’s national championship dreams.
When it was all over, Butler had a 70-62 win and a return trip to the national championship. Shelvin Mack scored a team-high 24 points, with Howard adding 17 and Shawn Vanzant chipping in 11. Butler was dominant on the glass, out-rebounding VCU 43-30 and grabbing 11 offensive rebounds, as well.
Jamie Skeen wasn’t going down without a fight for VCU, and score a game-high 27 points in the loss. Bradford Burgess added 15 points, but went cold in the second half. Joey Rodriguez scored just two points, but had seven assists.
Butler moves on to face the winner of Saturday night’s second Final Four game between Kentucky and UConn on Monday night in the NCAA Tournament Championship.
No. 8 Butler Bulldogs def. No. 11 VCU Rams, 70-62
No. 3 Connecticut Huskies vs. No. 4 Kentucky Wildcats
Butler Bulldogs vs. Kentucky/UConn on Monday
For more scores and stats, check out our Final Four results StoryStream.