Cotton leads Providence past Butler 87-81

Butler forward Andrew Chrabascz, center, shoots between Providence defenders LaDontae Henton, right, and Tyler Harris during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Sunday, Feb. 23, 2014, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)
Butler forward Andrew Chrabascz, center, shoots between Providence defenders LaDontae Henton, right, and Tyler Harris during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Sunday, Feb. 23, 2014, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Bryce Cotton scored 28 points — 11 straight in the first half — to lead Providence in an 87-81 win over Butler.

LaDontae Henton added 15 points for Providence (18-10, 8-7), while Josh Fortune, Tyler Harris and Kadeem Batts had 14 apiece.

Kellen Dunham scored 25 points and Khyle Marshall chipped in 22 for the Bulldogs (12-15, 2-13) who have now lost six straight.

Butler trailed 46-33 at halftime but the Bulldogs used a 15-2 run and nine points from Dunham to take a 50-48 lead.

Providence retook the lead for good on a Henton 3-pointer with just under 10 minutes left and the Friars made 12 of 15 free throws in the final 4 minutes to seal it.

The Friars, whose NCAA tournament resume couldn’t afford a loss to the Big East’s second-worst team, put considerable distance between themselves and Butler with a 15-4 run in the first half.

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