Bulldogs Roll Past Milwaukee

Shelvin Mack posted a career-high scoring total and Gordon Hayward added his sixth double-double of the season to help power Butler past visiting Milwaukee, 80-67, in a Horizon League game at Hinkle Fieldhouse on Saturday, Jan. 2.  The win lifted the Bulldogs to 10-4 on the season and kept Butler unbeaten in three league outings.

Mack scored on a variety of long-range jump shots and drives to the basket to compile 25 points against the Panthers.  It was the highest single game scoring total by a Butler player this season and was three points more than his previous career-high, set against both UAB and Youngstown State a year ago.

“My teammates did a great job of setting me up for shots,” said Mack after the game.  “And I was able to drive the lane, because Matt (Howard) did a good job of sealing his man.”

Hayward provided plenty of support with 16 points and 10 rebounds.  He hit six of seven shots from the field, including one from beyond the three-point arc, and three of four from the free throw stripe.  The 6-9 guard helped Butler to a 38-24 rebounding advantage in the game.

The Bulldogs never trailed after the 16-minute mark of the first half and built as much as a 19-point lead in the second half.  Butler out-scored Milwaukee, 20-6, on “second chance” points and 23-11 at the free throw line.

The visiting Panthers (8-7, 1-3 HL) jumped in front on a basket by James Eayrs after the opening tip and held leads at 4-2 and 6-5 before Butler took its first lead, 8-6, on Hayward’s three-point field goal from the corner.  Milwaukee tied the game at 8-8, before Butler went on a 5-0 run to take the lead for good.

Junior Zach Hahn started Butler’s run with a jump shot and junior Shawn Vanzant followed with a pair of free throws.  Hayward added a free throw to make it 13-8, and the Bulldogs never looked back.

Butler led by as many as 14 points late in the first half, before setting for a 37-28 halftime advantage.  Milwaukee opened the second half with a three-point play by Eayrs to cut Butler’s margin to six, 37-31, but the Bulldogs answered with nine straight points to take a double-digit lead that they never relinquished.

Mack scored 13 points in the second half and Hayward added 10 to help keep the Bulldogs on top.  Vanzant,, who hit a career-best eight of eight free throws, joined Mack and Hayward in double-figures for the game with 12 points. 

Forward Anthony Hill  came off the bench to lead Milwaukee with 18 points, 13 coming in the second half, while Eayrs added 11.

The Bulldogs will face two of the league’s top contenders on the road next weekend, beginning with a game at Wright State on Friday, Jan. 8.  That game at the Nutter Center is scheduled for 7 p.m.  Butler will play at Detroit on Sunday, Jan. 10, at 1 p.m