It was a rematch of the classic 2008 ESPNU Bracket Busters game which pitted then No. 16 ranked Drake at then No. 8 ranked Butler.
In a game which saw 15 lead changes, Drake came away with a 71-64 victory last Feb. 28 en route to finishing the season with a school-record 28-5 mark. Butler posted a 30-4 mark in 2007-08 while advancing to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
"We had our frustrations on the offensive end," said Phelps. "Butler was physically tough and made more plays than we did."
Butler scored 12 unanswered points to turn a 5-4 lead into a 17-4 advantage with 10:22 left in the first half and never looked back.
Drake made just five of 22 shots in the first half to trail 25-14 at intermission.
Junior All-Missouri Valley Conference guard Josh Young, who scored a career-high 25 at Butler, continued his torrid shooting against the Bulldogs by netting a game-high 19 points.
But the other members of Drake's starting unit - Brent Heemkserk, Adam Templeton, Jonathan Cox and Craig Stanley - combined for just 16 points.
"We need more than one double-digit scorer besides Josh Young," Phelps added. "We simply didn't play well. We need improvement across the board."
Drake surpassed its entire first half scoring total in the opening 9 minutes eight seconds of the second half.
Two free throws by reserve senior forward John Michael Hall pulled Drake within 34-29 with 11:52 remaining.
But Butler built the lead back to double digits with a 12-5 run fueled by five points from freshman forward Gordon Hayward to enjoy a 46-35 advantage.
Drake whittled the deficit down to six points twice in the last 3:15.
A three-point basket by Young with 1:03 left pulled Drake within 52-46. But sophomore forward Matt Howard, the lone returning starter for Butler, scored four of his team's last six points to seal the victory.
"We couldn't get over the hump in the second half due to our inability to get good shots," Phelps added.
Cox finished with seven points, five rebounds and two blocked shots for Drake.
Heemskerk tied a career high with nine rebounds for Drake. Heemskerk, Young and senior guard Jacob Baryenbruch had two steals apiece for Drake.
- Drake Media Relations