November 20, 2010

Butler Rolls To Big Win Over Ball State

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INDIANAPOLIS, IND. -- Shelvin Mack scored a game-high 19 points and teammate Matt Howard added a double-double to lead #16/18 Butler to an 88-55 victory over visiting Ball State in a non-league game at Hinkle Fieldhouse on Saturday, Nov. 20.  The win lifted to Bulldogs to 2-1 on the young season.

Butler, coming off a 15-point loss at Louisville five days earlier, took command of the game midway through the first half with a 20-6 scoring run.  Seven different Bulldogs scored during the run, with Mack leading the assault with four points.

Ball State (2-1) never got closer than 10 points the rest of the game.  Butler led by 18 points at halftime, 38-20, and stretched the lead to as many as 35 points on two occasions in the second half.  The final score was Butler's biggest margin of victory since November of 2008, when the Bulldogs defeated IU-South Bend, 87-33.

"Nobody was thrilled about the result on Tuesday, but I do think that we probably didn't play quite as poorly as it looked.  I think everyone had some pride about playing better today,"  said Butler head coach Brad Stevens.  "I told our staff at halftime that the neatest thing about this game is we know that we've got good character, because we rebounded from a tough week."

"I didn't think this game would be what it turned out to be," added the Butler coach.

Mack scored 12 of his points in the first half to help fuel the Bulldogs' strong start.  He got plenty of help in the second half, with all 14 Butler players seeing action.  Howard finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds in 25 minutes of action, while senior Shawn Vanzant came off the bench with 11 points.  Eleven of Butler's 14 players cracked the scoring column.

"I think anyone that's competitive and takes a (loss) is eager to get back out and play again.  Once we stepped back on the floor in practice, we went at each other to get ready because Ball State is a good team and we had to be ready," stated Vanzant.

Butler out-rebounded the Cardinals, 43-32, and the Bulldogs had a 17-7 advantage in second chance points.  Howard led both teams in rebounds, while Mack added seven.  Sophomore Andrew Smith came off the bench with seven points and six rebounds.

Malik Perry led the Cardinals with 13 points, all coming in the second half.

The Bulldogs will be back on the road for a contest at Siena on Tuesday, Nov. 23.  The game, a rematch of last year's BracketBusters game, will be televised locally on WNDY-TV, starting at 7 p.m. (ET).