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December 16, 2012

Butler stuns Indiana

INDIANAPOLIS — All Butler guard Alex Barlow saw Saturday was space and an opportunity to make a play.

So the unlikeliest player on the floor took a chance and made the biggest shot of the game.

When Indiana’s defenders failed to converge on the 5-foot-11 walk-on, Barlow kept right on going through the lane, drove to the basket and hit a spinning 6-foot jumper with 2.4 seconds left in overtime Saturday to give the Bulldogs another stunning upset — 88-86 over No. 1 Indiana in the Crossroads Classic.

“The floater is a shot I work on a lot and I happened to get a lucky bounce,” Barlow said. “It was a good feeling.”

Luckily for the Bulldogs (8-2), Barlow was on the floor.

The kid who spurned college scholarship offers to play his best sport, baseball, and opted to come to Butler for only one reason — to learn how to coach basketball from Brad Stevens — showed everyone he can hoop it up, too.

Stevens didn’t hesitate to constantly keep the ball in Barlow’s hands after three key Butler players had already fouled out. The sophomore who had scored only 12 points in nine games this season and 18 in his college career delivered with a series of key plays.

Barlow finished with a career-high six points, came up with a big steal that led to a go-ahead 3-pointer late in overtime and finally won it with a shot that bounced off the back of the rim, straight into the air and finally through the net.

Indiana (9-1) immediately called timeout to set up a play but could only muster Jordan Hulls’ heave from near half-court, a shot that faded to the left of the basket and suddenly the first college in Indiana to go to back-to-back Final Fours had another school first — its first win in five tries over a No. 1 ranked team.

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