Bulldogs Extinguish Flames, 86-82, In Season Finale
Feb. 26, 2005
Junior Brandon Polk scored a career-high 27 points and sophomore Brandon Crone added a career-best 20 points to lead Butler to an 86-82 victory over visiting UIC in a Horizon League game at Hinkle Fieldhouse on Saturday, Feb. 26. The win was Butler?s third in a row and lifted the Bulldogs to 13-14 overall and 7-9 in league play. UIC fell to 14-13 on the year and 8-8 in the league.
Polk hit all six shots he attempted in the first half and scored 16 points to help the Bulldogs jump out to a 42-32 halftime lead. Crone hit six of six shots and scored 17 points in the second half to help the Bulldogs stay in front. It was the first time since March of last year that two Butler players posted 20 or more points in the same game!
While Polk and Crone carried the bulk of the scoring load, Butler head coach Todd Lickliter was quick to point to the overall team effort for the Bulldogs' victory over a team that had beaten them by 24 points just last month.
"Crone, Polk and (Jamie) Smalligan did a great job on the boards. I was really pleased with that," noted the Butler coach. "Gary Patterson gave a great effort coming off the bench and (Avery) Sheets, (A.J.) Graves and (Bruce) Horan did a good job of moving the ball and getting it in the right position. It was a nice team effort."
The Bulldogs never trailed in the game, but fans didn't leave early. Butler led by as many as 18 points in the first half, only to have UIC trim the margin to seven, 39-32, before Patterson closed the half with a three-point field goal.
Lickliter's squad went up by 12 early in the second half, but the Flames stormed back behind guard Cedrick Banks, who finished with a game-high 28 points. UIC closed to within two points, 84-82, with seven seconds remaining on a basket by Justin Bowen, but Graves finished the scoring with a pair of free throws with just two ticks left.
Polk, the top field goal shooter in the Horizon League, finished the game with 10 field goals in 14 attempts, and he added six rebounds. Crone hit seven of 11 shots in the contest and added a team-high eight rebounds. Graves chipped in with 16 points and six assists.
The Bulldogs shot .528 for the game, but the Flames were even hotter with a 60% final shooting percentage. UIC hit 22 of 34 shots (.647) in the second half!
"This is the first game I've ever been associated with where we shot 60% and lost," said UIC head coach Jimmy Collins. "But our defense on the perimeter wasn't what it needed to be."
Butler hit 12 of 25 three-point field goal attempts in the game, with Sheets and Graves each collecting three long distance shots. Horan hit a pair of three-pointers and became just the second player in Butler history to record 200 career three-point field goals.
The Bulldogs will begin play in the Horizon League Tournament on Tuesday, March 1, with a first round game at Wright State.