Josh Owens had a big game with 17 points and a season-high nine rebounds but the Stanford men's basketball team dropped a 71-66 nonconference decision to visiting Butler on Thursday night.
John Gage recorded a career high with 12 points, including a 3-of-5 effort from long range, as the Cardinal (10-2) had a five-game winning streak snapped after losing its first game at home.
Stanford opens Pac-12 play at home next Thursday when UCLA visits for an 8 p.m. tipoff. USC comes to town a week from Saturday for a 3:30 p.m. contest.
Freshman Chasson Randle added 16 points and Aaron Bright finished with 11, including a three-point play with 12 seconds left to draw the Cardinal within 69-66.
Butler (6-7) reached the NCAA championship game in each of the past two years but had been struggling and dropped four of its last five games before earning its first road win of the year.
Bright hit a layup early in the second half to put the Cardinal ahead by seven points but the Bulldogs rallied to regain the lead.
The lead changed hands 12 times in the contest. Bright hit one of two free throws with 7:33 left to tie the score at 50. Butler took a 57-50 lead, as part of a 10-1 run, before Owens sank a pair of foul shots to break the run.
The damage was done, as the Bulldogs eventually led by nine with 3:10 remaining to play.
Butler took an early lead but the Cardinal turned up the defensive pressure and limited the Bulldogs to 17 points over the final 13:57 of the first half.
Owens scored all nine of his first half points in a span of 3:18 late in the period to help Stanford take a 31-26 lead at halftime.
Butler held a 20-10 edge in rebounds at the half, and committed just two turnovers (of 15 overall) in the second half. Stanford turned it over 10 times in the second half and 17 overall.