Ethan Morton’s triple-double leads Butler past rival Pine-Richland in OT
Wednesday, January 8, 2020 | 1:26 AM
Ethan Morton’s 3-point shot wasn’t falling and Pine-Richland’s defense didn’t allow many layups, so Butler’s star prevailed instead with free throws.
He took 18.
He made 17.
Morton finished with 33 points, 23 rebounds and 12 assists at home Tuesday night as No. 2 Butler defeated No. 4 Pine-Richland, 88-84, in overtime to take an early edge in the Section 1-6A title race.
It’s only the second week of January, but this rivalry created another big-game atmosphere. There were six ties and six lead changes in the second half.
“Some games you play, you don’t really remember,” Morton said. “Every single one of the games I’ve played against them sticks out.”
Morton started slowly, scoring only five first-half points, but added 28 after halftime. With Butler trailing 62-59 after three quarters, Morton turned aggressive, forced his way to the foul line and scored 15 points in the fourth.
He made 5 of 6 shots and 12 of 13 free throws in the fourth quarter and overtime.
“It’s really hard to guard him,” Pine-Richland coach Jeff Ackermann said. “If you get close to him, it’s a foul. He shot 17 of 18 from the foul line himself. We shot five foul shots as a team. It’s tough.”
Tied 79-79 after regulation, Butler sophomore Devin Carney made a go-ahead 3-pointer early in overtime and Morton added six consecutive free throws to hold onto that lead.
Morton’s final foul shots came with 5.5 seconds left, doubling a two-point lead to four, after grabbing a key defensive rebound under Pine-Richland’s basket.
“At the end of the game, he commanded the paint,” Butler coach Matt Clement said. “He got in there, got to the foul line and made his foul shots. He’s a really good player for a reason.”
Carney scored 24 points and Mattix Clement added 18 for Butler (8-4, 3-0). The two perimeter shooters combined for 10 3-pointers.
“A big difference in how they had to guard Ethan was how Devin and Mattix came out and shot,” Clement said. “If one is shooting good, you can get a little bit closer to Ethan. But if both are shooting like they shot, then you have to be a little bit different.”
Pine-Richland (8-3, 2-1) had five scorers in double figures. Logan Murray scored 23 points, Kyle Polce had 19, Patrick Shanahan had 15, Levi Wentz had 12 and Andrew Alexander added 10.
There are seven section games left including a rematch Jan. 28 at Pine-Richland. Butler is seeking its first section title since 1992.
“It was a great basketball game but we’ve got a lot of season left,” Clement said. “In the grand scheme of things it doesn’t mean a whole lot (yet), but it’s a nice win for us.”
Butler led 22-18 after one quarter and took a 10-point lead in the second quarter behind Carney, who scored 17 first-half points. Pine-Richland rallied to lead 39-38 at half and 62-59 after three.
Tied at 73 in the fourth, Butler took a 76-73 lead with 3 minutes left on a driving layup and foul shot by Morton.
With 90 seconds left, Pine-Richland forced a 79-79 tied on a layup by Shanahan.
Pine-Richland had two chances to win in the final seconds but Wentz’s 3-pointer bounced off the rim and Shanahan’s put-back at the fourth-quarter buzzer missed.
“We really laid it all on the line,” Ackermann said. “I think we’re looking forward to them coming to our place later in the year.”
Chris Harlan is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Chris by email at email@example.com or via Twitter .
More Basketball• Mt. Lebanon’s Ashleigh Connor adds 1st Division I basketball offer
• Mt. Pleasant hires T.J. Kravits as new boys basketball coach
• Trib HSSN girls athlete of the year: Morningstar shines bright for champion North Allegheny
• Valley News Dispatch boys athlete of the year: Highlands’ Crise savored super senior seasons
• Westmoreland County boys athlete of the year: GCC’s Nate Ward showed will to win in 4 sports