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Simas Lukosius scores 28, Butler downs Villanova

Jan 10, 2023; Queens, New York, USA;  Butler Bulldogs guard Simas Lukosius (41) looks to drive past St. John's Red Storm forward David Jones (23) in the first half at Carnesecca Arena. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Simas Lukosius hit five 3-pointers and scored a career-high 28 points to lift host Butler past Villanova 79-71 Friday in Indianapolis.

Lukosius hit two free throws with 47.7 seconds left to give the Bulldogs a 75-68 lead which they wouldn’t relinquish.

Chuck Harris added 12 points, Jalen Thomas contributed 11 and Eric Hunter Jr. had 10 for the Bulldogs (11-8, 3-5 Big East), who snapped a two-game losing streak.

Butler was short-handed without DJ Hughes, Myles Wilmoth, Manny Bates and John-Michael Mulloy.

Eric Dixon led Villanova with 22 points and Caleb Daniels added 21.

Cam Whitmore had 12 for the Wildcats (8-10, 2-5), who have dropped three in a row.

Villanova continued to play without Justin Moore (Achilles) and Jordan Longino (left leg).

In the first half, Thomas caught the ball in the lane and hit a difficult shot to give Butler a 19-16 lead with 9:17 left. After Daniels missed a 3-pointer for Villanova, Thomas scored again for a five-point advantage.

Whitmore dropped in a trey with 6:50 remaining to close within 24-22.

But the Bulldogs responded with a 10-0 run to go ahead by 12.

Daniels ended a scoring drought of more than four-and-a-half minutes to cut the deficit to 34-24 with 2:13 remaining.

Lukosius and Ali Ali each hit a 3-pointer in the final minute and Butler went on to lead 40-30 at halftime.

Brandon Slater opened the second half with a layup, Daniels and Brendan Hausen each hit a trey and the Wildcats trailed by just two.

Dixon converted a layup with 14:18 left to cap a 12-0 run for a 42-40 Villanova advantage. After an empty Butler possession, Dixon scored again for a four-point lead.

Lukosius hit a 3-pointer with 12:15 to go and Butler closed within 46-44.

When Lukosius completed a three-point play with 9:48 left, the Bulldogs equalized at 51.

After Butler pulled ahead 67-62, Daniels grabbed an offensive rebound and scored with 3:21 remaining.

–Field Level Media