Marquette 74, Butler 72: Vander Blue scored 29 points as the third-seeded Golden Eagles came back to beat the sixth-seeded Bulldogs in an NCAA Tournament East Regional third-round game at Lexington, Ky.
Blue’s 3-pointer with 1:28 left tied the game at 69 before Jamil Wilson made two go-ahead free throws 40 seconds later for Marquette (25-8), which will play second-seeded Miami or seventh-seeded Illinois in its third consecutive Sweet 16. Wilson and Trent Lockett added 13 points each as the Golden Eagles shot 23-for-27 at the foul line.
Rotnei Clarke led Butler (27-9) with 24 points, but airballed a 3-pointer with five seconds remaining and the Bulldogs trailing 72-70. Andrew Smith, who finished with 17 points, scored on a full-court pass with three seconds to go to pull the Golden Eagles within 74-72, but after Blue threw away the ensuing inbounds pass, Smith stumbled and missed an awkward 3-pointer at the buzzer.
After a Blue layup gave Marquette a 17-16 lead 8:49 into the game, Clarke made a jumper 14 seconds later to give Butler a lead it would hold until late in the second half. The Bulldogs pushed their lead to 35-27 at halftime before the Golden Eagles finally pulled back ahead 60-58 on a Blue dunk with 7:14 to go.
Smith scored four points in a 7-0 spurt as Butler took a 69-66 lead before Blue tied it with a corner 3 and Davante Gardner split at the line with 22 seconds left to make it 72-69 Marquette. Roosevelt Jones split at the foul line with 15 seconds left and Clarke’s misaligned deep ball came off that offensive rebound.
GAME NOTEBOOK: Blue, who was 8-for-8 from the foul line, made game-winning baskets in Marquette’s 59-58 opening-round win over No. 14 Davidson and the Golden Eagles’ regular-season finale against St. John’s, which clinched a share of the Big East regular-season title. … Butler beat Marquette 72-71 on a Clarke 3-pointer on Nov. 19 at the Maui Invitational earlier this season. … A Jones jumper with 3:31 left was waved off for offensive interference when Smith touched the rim. Jones, who was fouled on the play, split at the stripe.