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WSU trails 40-38 at half

COUGARS

A back-and-forth first half ends with Sheldon Mack driving and scoring his 15th point, giving Butler a 40-38 lead. The Cougars got hot late, after starting off with some struggles, but a 4-minute stretch without a miss keyed a nearly 50 percent (15 of 32 shooting) half. The last miss was from Klay Thompson, who was 5 of 9, but took a 3-pointer on an out-of-bounds play with 18 seconds left and WSU having a chance for the final shot. Thompson, who has 15 points, is 4 of 4 from the free throw line, 4 of 4 inside the 3-point line and just 1 of 4 outside. … Butler was having little trouble getting good shots against WSU's 2-3 zone midway through the half, but had to work a bit harder at the beginning and end against the Cougars' man. The Cougars will probably have to rely on their man in the second half or stretch the zone a little bit. … Matt Howard, who has 9 points, is indispensable on the offensive end, setting screens, getting rebounds and hitting shots. He also is good at drawing fouls, including one on Brock Motum when Motum put an arm-bar in his chest and Howard acted like he was shot. … Though Thompson is WSU's top offensive option, all but Abe Lodwick, who played just 4 minutes due to two fouls, has scored among the eight who have played. … We'll be back after the game with our story.


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