INDIANAPOLIS – If you thought the final 3.5 seconds of Butler's 64-63 win over Gonzaga at Hinkle Fieldhouse on Saturday was hectic for Roosevelt Jones, you should have seen the rest of his evening.
The Bulldog sophomore hit the shot heard round the college basketball nation at the buzzer to lead the now No. 9 Bulldogs (16-2, 3-0 Atlantic 10) past the then No. 8 Bulldogs.
“My cell phone was blowing up,” Jones said of the post-game havoc. “I had like 70 messages; I couldn't even get to all of them.”
As soon as Jones hit the buzzer-beater (which not only was the third of its kind for Butler this season, but also the third time beating a top 10 team this season), he was tackled by teammate Kellen Dunham and then swarmed by members of the “Dawg Pound,” as students stormed the court and piled on top of whomever they could find wearing a Butler jersey.
Jones later went out to eat and could barely get a bite in without somebody interrupting.
“Everybody was congratulating me,” Jones said. “But it was real nice that we got the win.”
The adulation didn't cease at the restaurant. When Jones and teammate (sophomore forward) Kameron Woods returned to their dorm room, they found their door decorated with congratulatory notes.
The game and atmosphere was so spectacular that ESPN's Dick Vitale called it one of the top five games that he has ever called in his 34 years in the business.
The shot that Jones sank isn't typical for any player – other than Jones. He specializes in those leaning one-handed floaters, and despite 10,228 fans holding their breath while the ball was in the air, Jones never doubted its outcome.
“As soon as it left my hand I knew that it was going in,” Jones said. “I was confident about the shot.”
Clarke still out
An amazing fact about Butler's win over Gonzaga is the fact that the Bulldogs were able to pull it off without their leading scorer.
Senior guard Rotnei Clarke has been out since a Jan. 12 win over Dayton, in which he sustained a severe neck sprain in a first half fall.
The Bulldogs not only were able to knock off Dayton without Clarke, they have followed that up with wins over Richmond and Gonzaga, and now they'll have to do so at LaSalle (12-5, 2-2) tonight at 7 p.m.
“Rotnei won't play,” Butler coach Brad Stevens said of tonight's game. “If he continues to progress through a week-long thing of activities that he started on (Jan. 18) then he could be available (Jan. 26) against Temple.”
Clarke was on the court at Hinkle Fieldhouse doing some light shooting drills, but still has a battery of tests to be evaluated on later this week.
Next man up
Though Clarke won't play, Stevens said that a pair of youngsters (Andy Smeathers and Devontae Morgan) might.
The coach said due to the amount of ball pressure that LaSalle applies defensively, Butler may indeed utilize the ball-handling skills of freshman guard Morgan.
“He's athletic and is able to guard on the basketball,” Stevens said. “He can drive the ball and handle the ball. In a game like LaSalle, if they are going to extend the floor (defensively), DeVontae could see some meaningful minutes.”