December 22, 2011

Butler Hands Stanford First Home Loss

STANFORD, CALIF. -- Senior Ronald Nored scored 16 of his career-high 18 points in the second half and freshman Jackson Aldridge added a career-high 15 points to lead Butler to a 71-66 victory over Stanford at Maples Pavilion on Thursday, Dec. 22.  It was just the second loss in 12 games for Stanford.

Nored (right) and Aldridge rallied the Bulldogs (6-7) from a seven-point deficit in the final 20 minutes.  The two combined for 27 points in the second half, and each came of with key plays down the stretch to help hand Stanford its first home setback of the season.

Aldridge (below left), who played 21 minutes before fouling out late in the game, broke a 50-50 tie and gave Butler the lead for good with a steal and lay-up with seven minutes remaining.  He was fouled on the drive, and he made the free throw to give the Bulldogs a three-point advantage.

Nored hit a clutch three-point field goal as the 35-second shot clock expired to give Butler a seven-point advantage, 62-55, with 3:28 remaining.  The Butler co-captain then hit five of six free throw attempts in the final 35 seconds to hold off Stanford's comeback attempts.

The two Butler guards combined to hit five of seven three-point field goal attempts, and Butler, as a team, connected on 10 of 22 long-range shots.

The Bulldogs, coming off a 16-point loss at Gonzaga on Tuesday, jumped out to an early lead, building a 9-3 advantage behind five points by freshman Kameron Woods and two each from Nored and junior Andrew Smith, who finished with 10 points.

But Standford, which had beaten seven home opponents by an average of 21.7 points, bounced back  and closed the half on a 5-0 run to take a 31-26 halftime lead.  The Cardinal stretched that advantage to 33-26 on a basket by guard Aaron Bright to open the second half, before the Bulldogs fought back with a 45-point second half performance.

"We played much better in the second half offensively with the ball," said Butler head coach Brad Stevens after the game.

"These guys fought, competed and they guarded pretty well most of the game," added Butler's coach.

The Bulldogs shot 50% (15-30) in the second half and finished the game with a season-best 46.4% (26-56) for the game.  Included in that mark was a season-best 45.5% from the three-point arc.  Six different Butler players connected from beyond the three-point arc, led by Nored with three and Aldridge and junior Chase Stigall with two apiece.

Butler finished with a 34-29 rebounding advantage, paced by freshman Roosevelt Jones with nine.

Nored led all scorers in the game.  Senior Josh Owens led the Cardinal with 17 points, while freshman Chasson Randle added 16.

The Bulldogs will take a brief Christmas break before returning to Horizon League play with home games against Green Bay (Dec. 29) and Milwaukee (Dec. 31).