EL DORADO – Russell Smith recorded a monster of a double-double on Saturday to lead the Butler men to an 88-84 win over Pratt at the Power Plant.
Smith, a redshirt freshman from Kansas City, Kan., scored 23 points and had 20 rebounds for the Grizzlies. The 23 points is one shy of his career high of 24. His previous high for rebounds in a game was 13. This is his fifth double-double of the season.
Smith’s effort helped the Grizzlies hold off a determined Pratt team that never would go away.
Pratt would take a 5-3 lead early before Butler went on a 5-0 run to go ahead 8-5.
With the game tied 14-14, Tevin Berry would hit back-to-back 3-pointers to give Butler a 20-14 lead with 12:28 to play in the first half.
Butler would hold the lead the rest of the half, despite the fact that Pratt cut the lead to just two points on several occasions.
The lead reached double digits after Smith and Ketarrious Bouchum made back-to-back buckets, making the score 36-26 with 3:44 to go in the first half.
A Justin Criddle jump shot gave Butler a 40-32 lead at the half.
Pratt would come out of the gates hot to start the second half and quickly took a 48-46 lead with 16:40 to play. The teams traded the lead several times before Butler a jumper by Smith with 4:42 to play that made it a 75-74 game.
Pratt tied the game 81-81 after a 3-pointer by Asem Johnson with 1:15 to play before Jared Armstrong answered with a 3-pointer that made it 84-81.
Criddle then made two free throws with 38 seconds left to make it an 86-81 lead. Pratt would get one more 3-pointer to get within two points, and then had a chance to win the game with the clock running down, but the Beavers missed a 3-pointer and then failed to tie the game, missing two straight layup tries after getting offensive rebounds.
Smith would get a rebound and was fouled with .1 seconds remaining and made both free throws before the game ended.
In addition to Smith’s 23 points, Butler got 22 from Bouchum and 10 from Amstrong. Butler had just seven players appear in the game.
The Grizzlies have now evened their record at 13-13 on the season, and are 10-13 in Jayhawk Conference play. Butler is 4-1 in its past five games. Pratt falls to 12-15 overall, 9-14 in conference.
Butler will go on the road on Wednesday to play Coffeyville.