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Green leads No. 9 Butler to overtime victory

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


AP Sports Writer

MILWAUKEE -- Mike Green's right ankle was ailing, his brace was gone, his teammates bullied and nearly buried.

So Green limped back to the locker room to find his missing support and returned to spark a late rally, scoring 10 of his 24 points in overtime to help No. 9 Butler beat Wisconsin-Milwaukee 83-75 on Tuesday night.

"I just tried to go out there and finish off what we started," said Green, who also had a career-high 13 rebounds and eight assists. "I was there when we were losing, I wanted to be there when we won."

Green wasn't just there, he was the reason Butler (22-2, 11-2 Horizon League) overcame a six-point deficit with 2:55 to play after being behind by as many as 12 in the first half.

The Bulldogs, who came in with their highest ranking in school history in the midst of four games in eight days, were flat. But Green, who had two points at the half, didn't let it carry into overtime as Butler took the lead from the start.

Green made a pair of slashing, circus layups and hit six free throws in the extra session as the Bulldogs pulled away. He also finished 10-of-10 from the line.

"It was time to make plays, I wanted to come out of here with a win and I wouldn't accept no for an answer," said Green, who was lightly recruited when he signed with Towson before transferring to Butler in 2005.

Milwaukee (12-11, 7-6) squandered its big lead after too many turnovers, but Ricky Franklin, who had missed his previous four 3-point attempts, tied the game at 67 with 0.8 seconds left the game when he made an off-balance shot with Green's hand in his face.

"Down the stretch, it showed why these guys, Butler, are the (ninth) ranked team in the country. They made all the right decisions down the stretch," Milwaukee coach Rob Jeter said. "They did the ordinary things a lot better than us."

Milwaukee's Marcus Skinner had a career-high 25 points and 10 rebounds and Allan Hanson added 18 points on 5 of 7 shooting from 3-point range.

"A lot of them dropped, but we didn't make enough shots to win," Hanson said.

Green's senior backcourt mate, A.J. Graves had an off-game scoring just 11 points on 2-for-14 shooting. Pete Campbell and Willie Veasley added 12 points each off the bench for the Bulldogs. Campbell hit the last 3-pointer of regulation and the first of overtime for the Bulldogs.

"That was a team win," Butler first-year coach Brad Stevens said. "We don't win that game without our guys off the bench."

The Bulldogs trailed 49-42 in a stretch where Green was whistled for a technical for arguing with the officials, his first ever. But Butler came back, taking a slim lead before Green got hurt driving to the basket when he sprained his right ankle with just under 5 minutes to play.

Playing with just four on defense while Green limped on the other end, Skinner's slam made gave Milwaukee a 61-58 lead. Green, meanwhile, left the bench and went into a concourse.

"I went to look for my ankle brace," Green said. "I came, got it, tied it up, tied my shoe up and got back out there."

Milwaukee pushed the lead to 64-58 after Skinner converted a three-point play, but the Panthers couldn't hold it as Green returned.

Butler scored the next nine points, the final two on free throws by Green after he grabbed his 11th rebound with 5.3 seconds remaining after Deonte Roberts missed a driving shot and Skinner couldn't get his hand on the loose ball.

But Franklin answered with his tying 3-pointer.

"That was a big shot. I told him, 'That was a good shot, man. That was a winning shot,"' Green said. "I didn't want to play an extra 5 minutes, but I didn't mind it."

The Bulldogs started 4-of-21 from the field, and 1-of-12 from 3-point range after going 6 1/2 minutes without a field goal. Milwaukee, playing in its first game in 10 days, hit its first six shots and led by as many as 12.

Butler got back into it after little-used freshman Zach Hahn hit three 3s after failing to score in more than a month. That set the stage for Green's hobbled heroics.

"He's a great point guard, he knows when to find people, where to look, and he also knows when to take the shot when it's his turn to exploit the defense," Graves said. "He does a really good job of balancing both his game, and looking for others. It's just fun to play off that."

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