Feb. 8, 2003
Senior Joel Cornette posted a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds and Butler unleashed a stifling defense to hold off visiting UIC, 61-47, in a showdown for first place in the Horizon League at Hinkle Fieldhouse on Saturday, Feb. 8. The win solidified Butler's hold on first place with an 8-1 league record and boosted the Bulldogs to 18-3 overall. UIC fell to 9-3 in league play and 15-6 overall.
The Bulldogs, who had an entire week to prepare for the game, shot poorly in the first half, hitting just 38% and scoring just 20 points. But the home squad excelled at the defensive end, limiting UIC to 28% shooting and 19 points!
"We've been really focused the past three days and we were really excited to play this game," Butler head coach Todd Lickliter said after the contest. "Maybe we were a little anxious in the first half, but it didn't affect our defense. We really guarded a very strong offensive team."
The 19 points were the fewest in a half by the Flames this season, and the 47 total points were nearly 29 points below UIC's season scoring average.
Cornette took charge with the Bulldogs struggling to shoot from the perimeter. He scored 12 of his game-high total in the final 20 minutes to help the Bulldogs pull away from UIC, which had entered the contest with a three-game winning streak. The 6-9 Butler post player gave the Bulldogs their first double-figure lead at 50-40 with a layup 36 minutes into the contest. He also hit a baseline jump shot in the closing second for the final margin, Butler's biggest lead of the game.
"We were having trouble hitting from outside, and I felt we had to get something at the basket," said Cornette, who matched his season scoring high. "I just tried to get it inside, and my teammate did a great job of getting the ball to me."
Cornette hit seven of 13 shots in the game and finished with a season-high 11 rebounds. He picked up solid support from senior Brandon Miller, who scored 10 of his 14 points in the second half. Miller, who also spent the majority of the game guarding UIC scoring leader Cedrick Banks, boosted his career scoring total to 996 points.
Forward Armond Williams led the Flames with 15 points, while Banks added 11 and forward Aaron Carr had 10. The Flames wound up shooting 35% for the game.
Butler, holding a one game lead over second place UW-Milwaukee and a two-game lead over UIC in the league standings, faces back-to-back road games. The Bulldogs will visit Loyola on Thursday, Feb. 13, and then play at Detroit on Saturday, Feb. 15.