March 6, 2004
All-league guard Cedrick Banks scored a game-high 22 points to power #2 seed UIC to a 65-56 victory over Butler in the semifinals of the Horizon League Tournament at Hinkle Fieldhouse on Saturday, March 6. The loss dropped Butler's final season record to 16-14. UIC advances to the league championship game at top-seeded UW-Milwaukee on Tuesday, March 9.
Banks scored 14 points in the second half to help the Flames (23-7) pull away from the Bulldogs, who were playing their third game in five days. The UIC senior opened the second half with a three-point field goal to break a 29-29 halftime tie, and the Flames never trailed for the rest of the contest.
"(UIC's) defense really applied a lot of pressure and made things difficult for us," said Butler coach Todd Lickliter after the game. "Because of that pressure and because of how hard we had to work, we struggled with our legs and we struggled to shoot the ball."
The Bulldogs, who shot better than 50% in each of their two league tournament victories, shot just 40% against the Flames and just 38% in the second half. After making six of 12 three-point field goal attempts in the first half, Butler managed just two of 12 in the final 20 minutes.
Sophomore Bruce Horan led Butler with 18 points on six of 12 shooting from beyond the three-point arc. But the Butler scoring leader, who hit five of eight three-point attempts in the first half, managed just one field goal in the second half.
Senior Duane Lightfoot finished with 15 points and seven rebounds. He hit six of eight field goal attempts and finished his career as Butler's all-time leader in field goal shooting. Senior Mike Monserez, plagued by fouls in the game, finished with four points, three rebounds and three assists. Lightfoot finished the season as Butler's leading scorer, while Monserez led the team in rebounding and assists.