February 11, 2012

Bulldogs Shut Down Cleveland State

CLEVELAND, OHIO -- Freshman Roosevelt Jones (right) scored a career-high 17 points and teammates Chrishawn Hopkins and Kameron Woods made a couple of key plays down the stretch to help lift Butler to a 52-49 victory over Cleveland State at the Wolstein Center on Saturday, Feb. 11.  The win gave the Bulldogs a sweep of their two-game trip to Ohio.

The Bulldogs, who began the weekend trip to northeast Ohio with a victory at Youngstown State, used a strong defensive performance and an attacking offense to defeat Cleveland State, which entered the contest just one-half game out of first place in the Horizon League.  Butler limited the Vikings to 24% shooting in the first half and 37% shooting for the game.  The Bulldogs' inside game out-scored the host squad 26-14 on points-in-the-paint and 14-8 on second-chance points.  

The Vikings (20-6, 10-4 HL), who began the week in first place in the Horizon League standings, suffered just their third homecourt loss this season.

"We gave ourselves a chance to win," Butler head coach Brad Stevens said of the Bulldogs' effort.  "We played really well, except for maybe with the exception of the first ten minutes of the first half, but Cleveland State had a lot to do with that."

Hopkins, who scored only four points in the win, came up with the game's biggest basket with a minute-and-a-half remaining.  With the scored tied at 49-49, Jones missed a la-up and Woods grabbed the rebound.  He passed back to Hopkins, who banked in a short jump shot to give Butler the lead for good.

Hopkins then got a hand on the ball on Cleveland State's next possession and deflected it to Woods, who was fouled.  The 6-8 freshman made one of two free throws with 11 seconds remaining for the final margin.

"It was a heck of a play by both guys," said Stevens of the Bulldogs' final steal.  "Hop got a hand on the ball and Kam came up with it.  (Trevon) Harmon was back-cutting and Hop made a great play to stop and get a hand on the ball."

Jones, who had scored 16 points three times in the past seven games, scored 11 points in the first half to help Butler to a 28-18 halftime lead.  He added six more in the second half, the last on a free throw that tied the game at 47-47 with just under four minutes remaining.  The 6-4 forward also pulled down seven rebounds and had one blocked shot and one steal in he win.

Butler started strongly for the second straight game, building an eight-point lead midway through the first half and then stretching the margin to 10 points by halftime.  But the Vikings, coming off a loss to Valparaiso two days earlier, quickly erased that advantage in the second half.

Cleveland State opened the final period with a 16-6 run to tie the score at 34-34 with 12:55 remaining.  After that the game was tied four more times and there were six lead changes.

Sophomore Khyle Marshall, who missed the previous two Butler games with concussion symptoms, came off the bench and sparked the Bulldogs with 12 points and eight rebounds in 24 minutes of action.  Junior Andrew Smith (right) added points, including the basket that tied the game for the final time at 49-49.

The Bulldogs did not hit a three-point field goal in the win.

Freshman Anton Grady led the Vikings with 18 points and 13 rebounds, while senior Trevon Harmon added 12.

The two-game, Ohio sweep lifted Butler to 15-12 on the season and 9-6 in Horizon League play and assured the Bulldogs of a share of third place in the league standings with three league games remaining.

Butler will begin a three-game homestand on Tuesday, Feb. 14, against Horizon League foe Loyola.