Two Elijah Hawkins free throws with five seconds remaining and a contested miss by the home team at the buzzer gave visiting Minnesota a 73-72 win over Butler in the opening round of the 2024 NIT.

The game was played Tuesday night at Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.

With the win, Minnesota improves to 19-14 on the season and will play the winner of Wednesday night’s game between Indiana State and SMU in the second round. The loss ends Butler’s season at 18-15.


An early 11-0 run by Minnesota gave the visitors a 19-11 advantage at the 10:25 mark of the first half.

Butler would fight back with a run of their own to knot the game at 23-23 less than five minutes later.

A stretch of eight consecutive made field goals gave the Bulldogs a 38-34 lead with less than a minute remaining in the first half before Butler went into the locker room with a 38-36 advantage.

Butler’s largest lead of the game came at 51-44 with 14:41 remaining, following six straight Bulldog point points.

Minnesota quickly erased that lead and took at 54-53 lead.

One more time the Bulldogs found a spurt on back-to-back three-pointers from Pierre Brooks II and Jahmyl Telfort to push Butler’s edge to 60-54 with 8:12 to play.

After ties at 60-60 and 67-67, Butler was able to find a 72-69 lead on Telfort’s runner in the lane with 39 seconds to play.

A Dawson Garcia bucket and those two Hawkins free throws sandwiched around a Butler turnover gave Minnesota the final 73-72 margin.


Telfort led Butler with 25 points, his fifth 20-point game of the season and one point shy of his season-high.

DJ Davis and Posh Alexander each added 13 points for Butler.

Davis had a career-high seven assists.

Alexander had four steals Tuesday night, moving him to 71 for the season. That mark is third in Butler single-season history.

Garcia led Minnesota with 25 points.

Hawkins scored 11 points to go along with 15 assists.

Minnesota put five players in double figures.

Both teams shot 47 percent.

The game featured 11 ties and eight lead changes.