El Dorado, Kan. – In a matchup of a top offensive team against a top defensive team, Seward County's defense proved to be too much for the Butler Grizzlies to handle. Seward County (12-7, 8-7) forced the Grizzlies into 17 turnovers in their 79-76 win over Butler.
The began on a tight note with neither team being able to gain an advantage through the first 12 minutes of the game. Hegel Augustin gave the Saints a 17-14 lead with a deep three, but just as it seemed as though Seward might pull ahead further, Butler connected on free-throws on back-to-back possessions to it back at 17 at the media timeout.
The Grizzlies came out of the timeout by taking a three-point lead over the Saints, but Seward answered with a Jordan Mitchell drive through the lane and Ke'Sean Davis floater to take a 23-22 lead. The teams continued to trade points the remainder of the quarter, but six straight points by Jamel Horton was enough to give the Saints a 33-31 advantage at the break.
Despite shooting 46.2 percent (12 of 26) from the floor and holding the Grizzlies to 34.6 percent (9 of 26), Seward only held a two-point halftime lead. Both teams struggled from behind the arc, with Seward shooting 25.0 percent (2 of 8) and Butler shooting 27.3 percent (3 of 11).
The teams came out of the break trading baskets, but an Isiah Small layup sparked a 7-0 run, capped off with a Julian Santamaria corner three to put the Saints up 44-36. Montrevion Flowers gave the Saints their largest lead of the game right at the media timeout completing a three-point play.
After trading points, the Saints used a 5-0 run by Isiah Small and Davis to push their lead to 64-52 with 8 minutes to play. Butler hit a three from the corner with 2:28 to cut the Seward lead to single digits, by a score of 72-63. The Grizzlies used 6-0 run a minute later bring the score to 74-69 with a minute to play, but it was too little, too late as the Saints were able to hit their free throws down the stretch and win 79-76.
Seward shot 51.9 percent (27 of 52) from behind the arc and 28.6 percent (4 of 14) from deep. The Grizzlies improved their shooting in the second half, hitting 43.4 percent (23 of 53) from the floor and 43.5 percent (10 of 23) from behind the arc.
Three Saints came away with double-digits points – Ke'Sean Davis (20), Isiah Small (18) and Jamel Horton (13). In addition to Davis' 20 points, he also had 10 rebounds for his second career double-double.
Seward will return home to take on Cloud County at 8:00 p.m. on Wednesday (Jan. 24) in the Greenhouse. The game will be free for all fans thanks to our sponsor Sunflower Bank. Free tickets can be picked up at Sunflower Bank and both Liberal Hutch's locations.