VALPARAISO, Ind. — Pete Campbell hit a 3-pointer with 15 seconds left to give 10th-ranked Butler its first lead and Willie Veazley added a free throw with 7 seconds left as the Bulldogs beat Valparaiso 71-68 Tuesday night.
Valparaiso had one last chance to tie it, but a 3-point attempt by Brandon McPherson caromed off the rim and Butler's Julian Betko came down with the rebound as the Bulldogs (9-2 Horizon League) improved to 20-2 for the second time in school history, matching last year's start.
The Crusaders (14-8, 5-5), appeared to be in control when Jarryd Loyd hit a 3 with 35 seconds left to give Valparaiso a 68-65 lead. But after A.J. Graves scored inside to cut the lead to 68-67, Loyd put up an air ball on a one-and-one.
Campbell then hit a 3 and Veazley stole the ball from Loyd as the Crusaders lost for the 22nd straight time against ranked teams.
Graves, who kicked the ball out to Campbell for the winning shot, led the Bulldogs with 20 points and eight rebounds. Campbell added 17 points and Mike Green had 14. Loyd had 16 points, McPherson 14 and Urule Igbavboa 11.
A record crowd of 5,432 at the Athletics-Recreation Center was on hand to see the near upset as Valparaiso outrebounded Butler 36-26. But after being outscored 16-4 in the first half, Butler had a 20-10 advantage inside in the second half.
It was the most points for Graves, who was 7-of-18 shooting, since scoring 21 against Bradley on Dec. 19. He had averaged just 7.9 points in seven previous games before breaking out of his slump with 16 points last game against Illinois-Chicago.
Butler's Matt Howard had his streak of 12 straight games scoring in double figures end when he played just 15 minutes because of foul trouble.
Valparaiso took control early, making five of its first six shots, including a pair of 3-pointers, to open a 12-0 lead. Campbell finally got the Bulldogs going, scoring eight of Butler's first 10 points to cut the lead to 17-10. The Bulldogs used a 9-2 run to tie the score at 19 when Campbell hit a 3-pointer midway through the half.
The Crusaders, dominating inside, quickly regained control with a 5-0 run and stretched the lead to 41-32 when Shawn Huff and McPherson hit back-to-back 3s. They led 43-35 at halftime.
The last time Valparaiso beat a ranked team was against then-No. 13 Mississippi 70-69 in the first round of the 1998 NCAA tournament on a last-second 3-pointer by current assistant coach Bryce Drew, the son of coach Homer Drew.