January 5, 2008

Butler Gets Win Over New Horizon League Foe Valparaiso, 73-65

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Mike Green matched his career high with 24 points and added eight rebounds to help No. 16 Butler beat Valparaiso 73-65 on Saturday.

The Bulldogs (13-1, 2-1) won their fifth straight overall, matched the best start in school history and have won four in a row against their new Horizon League foe.

Valparaiso (11-4, 2-1) has lost three of its last four, all on the road -- at Wisconsin, at North Carolina and at Butler. Jarryd Loyd led the Crusaders with 15 points.

Butler, which ranks among the nation's top 10 in 3-pointers and fewest turnovers, certainly didn't look like itself after an eight-day layoff. The Bulldogs committed six turnovers in the first 10 minutes and were just 3-of-11 on 3-pointers in the first half.

That combination allowed Valparaiso to take control early, breaking to a 15-6 lead and rebuilding a 24-15 cushion with 7:38 left in the half.

But when the Bulldogs started drawing fouls, everything changed. Backup swingman Willie Veasley scored eight straight points during a late stretch in the first half to get Butler back in the game, and when Green hit a 3-pointer with 1:28 to go, Butler finally led 31-29.

Butler dominated the second half. The Bulldogs used a 7-0 run to take a 40-36 lead with 14:36 remaining, then pulled away with a late 7-0 run that made it 58-45 with 5:33 to go. Valparaiso used a late 10-3 run to get to 66-61 with 56 seconds left, but never got closer than five the rest of the way.

The Bulldogs finished 28-of-33 from the free-throw line.