INDIANAPOLIS, IND. -- Senior Matt Howard scored a game-high 19 points and teammate Ronald Nored added 14 to lead #17/18 Butler to a 90-70 victory over visiting Florida Southern in an exhibition men's basketball game at Hinkle Fieldhouse on Saturday, Oct. 30, afternoon. The game was Butler's first 2010-11 test.
Howard scored 12 points and Nored added nine in the first half, while helping Butler to a 45-37 halftime lead. The two then combined with teammate Shawn Vanzant to score Butler's first 18 points of the second half, sparking the Bulldogs to a 16-point lead, 63-47. Florida Southern never got closer.
"I thought there were some good moments, and I thought there were some moments we need to work on," said Butler head coach Brad Stevens after the game.
The game didn't look like it would have a double-digit outcome in the first half. The Moccasins, ranked fifth in Division II, hit seven of their first nine shots in the game and actually led just over six minutes into the contest, 15-14. But Howard and senior Zach Hahn fueled a 12-2 Butler run with six points apiece to give Butler the lead for good. The Bulldogs led by as many as 12 points in the first half, before settling for the eight-point halftime margin.
"Without being to break it down (on video), I thought (our execution) was okay. I thought we got outside of ourselves a little bit at times when we had other things going well early. We need to figure out what's going well and how to capitalize on it," noted the Butler coach.
Stevens was able to use all 14 players in the game, and 11 cracked the scoring column. Vanzant finished with 11 points, while Hahn, who hit three of three three-point field goals, junior Shelvin Mack and sophomore Andrew Smith, who was given his first collegiate start, each added nine. Howard led the Bulldogs in rebounding with seven, while Mack had a game-high six assists.
Andre Hawkins and Brandon Jenkins each scored 16 points, while Terry Jenkins added 13 for Florida Southern, coached by former Purdue player Linc Darner.
The Bulldogs will play their second and final preseason exhibition game against Indiana foe Hanover on Thursday, Nov. 4. That game at Hinkle Fieldhouse will start at 7 p.m.