Washington, DC (Sports Network) - Two games, two nail-biters with Butler's Matt Howard coming up the hero both times, and on Saturday the Bulldogs knocked off No. 1 seed Pittsburgh in controversial fashion.
Howard made one free throw with 0.8 seconds left to lift eighth-seeded Butler basketball to a 71-70 win over the Panthers, the first ouster of a top-seeded team at this year's NCAA Tournament.
Butler, which was coming off a 60-58 win over Old Dominion thanks to Howard's putback at the buzzer, got a layup from Andrew Smith with 2.2 seconds remaining. That moved the Bulldogs to a 70-69 lead, but then Shelvin Mack committed a foul on Gilbert Brown near midcourt, the first of two questionable calls in the dying seconds.
Brown made the first shot with 1.4 seconds left, but the second caromed out. Howard secured the rebound, but Nasir Robinson slapped the Butler forward on the left arm and a foul was whistled immediately.
Howard intentionally missed the free throw at the other end, finishing the game and sending Butler to play either fourth-seeded Wisconsin or No. 5 seed Kansas State. That Southeast Region Sweet 16 game will be Thursday in New Orleans.
Mack scored 30 points, going 7-of-12 from three-point range, and Howard scored 16 for Butler (25-9), whose magical run continues. Last year, the Bulldogs eliminated No. 1 seed Syracuse on the way to the title game before losing to Duke by two points.
Brown had 24 points for Pittsburgh (28-6), which also received 16 from Robinson and 11 from Ashton Gibbs
The Pitt loss drops the Big East Conference to 7-6 overall 2011 NCAA Tournament. Next up on Satuardy night No. 3 Connecticut Huskies and No. 6 Cincinnati Bearcats, who play in Verizon Center in Washington D.C. On Jan. 15, UConn defeated Cincinnati, 76-59.
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