Center court was used for more than a tip-off Saturday night.
Senior night had descended on Bank of Colorado Arena, where Tyler Loose, Anthony Johnson, Andre Spight and Tanner Morgan were recognized for everything they’ve done for the team.
Some tears were shed, and many hugs were given out when each player stepped on the floor for the last time. Each Player was given a plaque with their jersey inside of it.
The only ones who weren’t thrilled about the senior recognition was Southern Utah who wanted to keep the tears coming with an upset the Bears.
Bbut UNCs second half serge pushed team to a 97-80 win to send the seniors out with a bang.
“It was a great night for senior night,” coach Jeff Linder said. “I am really proud of how the team responded. I am proud of the whole team on wanting those seniors to go out on top.”
Only three players in Division I basketball have multiple games of 40 or more points, headlined by Oklahoma star, Trae Young.
The list just got a little bigger as Andre Spight notched his second 40-point game of the season.
Spight took control of the game with his ability to get to the rim and finish with either hand. Virtually unguardable, SUU tried to bracket Spight and force him to pick the ball up and either shoot or pass.
Bbut what they didn’t know was Spight is a born scorer and knocked down 12 of 25 from the field. He capped off his final home game with a few pushups after an and-one three pointer.
“There was a lot of friends and family out here,” Spight said. “It is good to put on a good show for them. I really appreciate the fans in Butler and everybody. It is just a great feeling playing in front of your home crowd. You want to give them a good show and a reason to come back.
All four seniors got the starting nod, and Anthony Johnson made sure to leave his mark in his last home game.
Locked in from the tip, Johnson had the hot hand. The senior from Indiana let it fly every time the ball touched his hands. Johnson blitzed the SUU defense with 24 points — 17 of which coming in the first half.
SUU wanted to let him shoot from the 3-point line which the senior has struggled with throughout the season, but not tonight. He went 5 of 9 from behind the arc.
“It just felt good,” Johnson said. “It is bittersweet being the last game in Butler, but it was good getting the win because it doesn’t always happen like that.”
Tanner Morgan chipped in five points and three rebounds. While Tyler loose didn’t get on the scoreboard, he is one of the most respected and hardworking guys on the team.
“Tyler Loose is most unheralded of the group,” Linder said. “For the opportunity to start, that was the best thing we could have done for him. He is the guy behind the scenes that does everything at the highest level.
The Bears now focus on finishing off the season with two road games against North Dakota and Sacramento State before heading to the Reno for the Big Sky Tournament.