Feb. 22, 2006
Brandon Polk celebrated Senior Night with 24 points and Butler held off a second-half rally by Youngstown State to defeat the visiting Penguins, 72-64, in a key Horizon League game at Hinkle Fieldhouse on Wednesday, Feb. 22. The win lifted Butler to 18-10 overall and 11-4 in league action, and kept the Bulldogs in the hunt for a share of the league title. Youngstown State slipped to 7-19 on the year and 4-11 in the league.
Polk, who hit 10 of 14 shots in the game, scored 16 points in the final 20 minutes to help stave off Youngstown State's comeback attempt. Trailing by 21 points early in the second half, the Penguins rallied behind high-scoring Quin Humphrey to cut Butler's margin to two points at 58-56 and 61-59.
Sophomore A. J. Graves gave Butler some breathing room with a three-point field goal at 3:48 to increase the margin to 64-59. Butler then followed a Humphrey free throw with three straight charity tosses, two by Julian Betko and one by Polk, to stretch the margin to seven, 67-60.
"We knew (Youngstown State was) a good team. It wasn't anything that we didn't do; it's what they did do," said Butler head coach Todd Lickliter after the contest. "We knew coming in that they would be difficult to guard. Humphrey is a terrific player."
Humphrey nearly led his team all the way back in the second half. After tallying just five points in the first 20 minutes, the 6-4 junior stormed back with 24 points in the final 20 minutes. He finished with game-highs of 29 points and 15 rebounds, while playing all 40 minutes!
Butler looked like it was going to make Senior Night a quick decision. The Bulldogs turned in a strong defensive effort in the first 20 minutes and pulled away to a 31-18 halftime lead. Butler then opened the second half with a 16-8 run to stretch the margin to 21. But the Penguins answered with 38 points in the final 15 minutes.
Brandon Crone chipped in with 14 points and Graves added 12. Seniors Avery Sheets and Bruce Horan, both playing their final regular season game in Hinkle Fieldhouse, added 11 and nine points, respectively.
The win was No. 100 in Lickliter's five-year tenure at Butler. He reached 100 wins faster than any other coach in Butler history.
The Bulldogs, who trail UW-Milwaukee by one-half game in the league standings, will close out the regular season at Detroit on Saturday, Feb. 25, at 4 p.m. (EST). A victory would give Butler a share of the Horizon League regular season title.