Ronald Nored saved the day for Butler. With the score tied at 50, Ronald Nored converted a three-point play with 25 seconds left to give the Bulldogs 53-50 lead.
After the teams traded free throws, Murray State had the ball, down 54-52 in the final seconds, but lost the ball as time expired.
Nored played big all day with 15 points, which is well above his season average of 5.8 points. Gordon Hayward had 12 points and Shelvin Mack added 11 points. The Bulldogs took advantage of 16 Murray State turnovers and the Racers' terrible free throw shooting (5-for-12).
Murray State is showing life. Trailing 44-38 with 7:52 left, the Racers exploded for a 12-3 run, capped by another three from Isaiah Canaan and a layup by Ivan Aska and lead 50-47 with 2:21 left. Canaan leads Murray State with 14 points.
Butler has regained control, running off seven straight points for a 44-38 lead with 7:52 left. Shelvin Mack drained a three during the run.
The offense for both teams has picked up since the break. Trailing 33-29, Ronald Nored scored five straight points and gave Butler a 34-33 lead. Edward Daniel answered with a layup for Murray State, giving them a 35-34 lead. But Nord fed Gordon Hayward for a three, giving the lead back to the Bulldogs, 37-35.
But Murray State won't go down as Isaiah Canaan drained a three. Murray State leads 38-37 with 11:20 left.
Murray State is proving to be a real problem for Butler. The Racers, with a 22-12 edge on the boards, ended the first half on a 9-0 run and leads 26-22 at the half. Donte Poole drained a contested three-pointer as time expired for the Racers.
Butler hasn't gotten anything out of Gordon Hayward or Shelvin Mack, who has three points each. Eight players have scored for Murray State, which is the norm for the Racers. Murray State had four scorers averaging around 10 points per game during the regular season.
Butler kept the Racers at arm's length for much of the first half. Ronald Nored had seven early points and Willie Veasley had three. Butler's top players, Horizon player of the year Gordon Hayward (3 points) and key backcourt man Shelvin Mack (3 points) need to start scoring at some point.
Butler scored six quick points for an 18-10 lead. But Murray State's Isaiah Canaan drained a three, to keep the Racers close, 18-13 with 8:34 left.
Butler raced to a 12-3 lead, thanks to Murray State's bad shooting early on. But the Racers, who missed their first six shots, have scored seven straight points and trail, 12-10 with 11:25 left. Willie Veasley has four points for Butler, while B.J. Jenkins and Isacc Miles have three each for Murray State.