Former Christ Church star John Butler Jr. leads Florida State upset of No. 5 Duke

·2 min read
Florida State forward John Butler blocks a shot attempt by Duke's Paolo Banchero on Tuesday night in Tallahassee, Fla.
Florida State forward John Butler blocks a shot attempt by Duke's Paolo Banchero on Tuesday night in Tallahassee, Fla.

With Duke trailing late in overtime at Florida State, Greenville native and Christ Church alum John Butler made just one more play on a night where he made plenty.

As Duke forward Wendell Moore Jr. drove to the basket in the waning seconds of overtime, with No. 5 Duke trailing by one point, his floater attempt was sent back to the court by Butler Jr.

The play sealed a 79-78 upset of the Blue Devils in Tallahassee on Wednesday night. Butler Jr. finished with a collegiate career-high 14 points on 5-of-8 shooting and 3-of-4 shooting from behind the arc.

Butler Jr. was a four-star recruit out of Christ Church and won a Class AA state title last season playing for the Cavaliers. He also had a pair of blocks and three rebounds in the game.

Wednesday night was his third game this season scoring in double-figures.

His three 3-pointers in the first-half helped him lead both teams in scoring at the break in what was a career night, capped by a career moment for the FSU freshman.

"There is no doubt that John Butler is just growing up in front of our eyes," Seminoles men's basketball coach Leonard Hamilton told reporters after the game. "There’s not another seven-foot-one (player) in the country that’s been asked to do what we are asking him to do."

Butler Jr. has started 10 games now through his first season at FSU. His play on Wednesday was a major factor in one of the biggest upsets of the season. And his play also sparked a win that could provide a jolt to the Seminoles NCAA Tournament resume.

FULL RECAP: Florida State basketball knocks off No. 5 Duke in overtime thriller

"He’s rising to the occasion and tonight he took a step a little further," Hamilton continued Wednesday night. "He shot the ball well from the perimeter, just did a great job containing the dribble, and with his length and his size and wingspan I thought made a big difference in them not making some of the plays that they normally make."

Butler Jr. was The Greenville News Upstate boys basketball Player of the Year for the 2020-21 season. He was also a three-time member of the The Greenville News All-Upstate boys basketball first team. As a senior he averaged 20.1 point, 8.5 rebounds and 2.9 blocks per game.

So far in his first year at Florida State, Butler Jr. is averaging 5.6 points, 2.6 rebounds and 0.8 blocks per game. He has appeared in 16 games for the Seminoles and averages 15.8 minutes per game for a team that's now 11-5 (5-2 ACC) following the win over Duke.

Joe Dandron, a Michigan State University grad, covers high school sports for The Greenville News. Contact him at jdandron@gannett.com and follow him on Twitter: @JoeMDandron. You can send scores, story ideas, tips and results to his email.

This article originally appeared on Greenville News: Former Christ Church star helps Florida State upset No. 6 Duke

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