February 6, 2010

Perfect Veasley Carries Bulldogs Past Wright State

Butler, led by senior Willie Veasley, shot a crisp 67.5 percent from the field and pulled away from Wright State in the second half to win 74-62 Saturday Feb. 6 at Hinkle Fieldhouse. The win was the 12th in a row for Butler and moved them to a perfect 13-0 in Horizon League play.

Veasley was perfect for the Bulldogs, hitting all nine of his field goal attempts and scoring a career-high 19 points. “No, this is a first for me,” said Veasley, when asked if he had ever gone nine for nine before. The nine field goals made were also a career-high.

 “My teammates found me when I was around the bucket and those are high percentage shots, I just capitalized on them,” said Veasley. “That’s one reason why we are so good, we play so well off each other.”

Butler shot 70 percent from the field  in the second half. The one blemish in the win for the Bulldogs was 17 turnovers as a team.

 “God Bless, give them some credit, they are 20-4, they have won all their league games,” said Wright State Head Coach Brad Brownell when asked about Butler having more turnovers than missed field goals. “What else do you want them to do?”

“I’m a big believer in the law of averages,” said Butler Head Coach Brad Stevens when he was asked what contributed to the great shooting night. “And we shot enough bricks to build houses the past few games.”

After spending most of the first half on the bench with foul problems, junior Matt Howard was instrumental in Butler’s strong second half. Howard scored 10 of his 12 points in the final period, including three rebounds to go along with two points in the first four minutes of the second half.

Butler went on a 6-0 run to take a 35-29 halftime lead, and then the Bulldogs out-scored Wright State (15-9, 8-5 HL) 10-2 to open the second half.  The margin never fell below double-figures for the rest of the game.

Gordon Hayward grabbed a game-high six rebounds in addition to scoring 11 points and getting two steals on the night. Zach Hahn added 10 points off the bench, which was more than the entire Wright State bench combined. Hahn, like Veasley, was also perfect from the field shooting 3-3, including 2-2 from behind the arc.

The Bulldogs will continue to wear a huge target, as they try to protect their top spot in the league.
 
“This is the second year with this group going through that,” said Howard. “It really helps to have been in these situations before and know what to expect.” Coach Stevens added, “Were trying to give everybody our best shot too.”

Next up for the Bulldogs is Loyola who took Butler down to the wire in Chicago earlier this season and has won two out of the last three meetings at Hinkle Fieldhouse. The game at Hinkle Fieldhouse is scheduled for Monday Feb. 8 at 7 p.m. “We won’t have any problem getting ready for this one,” said Coach Stevens.