Nov. 14, 2005
Senior Brandon Polk scored a game-high 26 points to lead Butler to a 70-61 victory over Alabama State in the consolation round semifinals of the BCA Invitational played in Laramie, Wyoming, on Monday, Nov. 14. The victory evened Butler's season record at 1-1 and sends the Bulldogs into the consolation round finals against either Lehigh or Coppin State on Tuesday, Nov. 15.
Polk and junior forward Brian Ligon established a strong inside game for the Bulldogs and helped Butler take command of the game in the first half. With Alabama State (0-2) holding a 16-15 advantage midway through the first period, Polk and Ligon combined to fuel an 11-0 Butler scoring run, putting the Bulldogs in front for good.
Polk had seven points during the key run, while Ligon came off the bench with four. The Bulldogs went on to stretch their advantage to 35-22 by halftime. Polk finished the first half with 18 points on eight of 12 shooting from the field, while Ligon matched his career-high with eight first half points.
The Hornets tried to control Butler's two inside players with a zone defense in the second half, and Butler responded with five consecutive three-point field goals. Senior Bruce Horan and sophomore A. J. Graves each hit a pair of three-pointers and senior Avery Sheets added another in the opening flurry.
The Bulldogs took their biggest lead at 54-37 on a field goal by Polk midway through the second half. Butler kept the lead in double-digits until the final minute when the Hornets closed to within seven points, 68-61, behind a frantic fullcourt press. Graves closed the scoring with a pair of free throws with nine second remaining.
Polk, who scored a career-high 27 points against UIC a year ago, hit 11 of 16 shots in the game and added four free throws for his game-high total. He also pulled down six rebounds to share the team rebounding lead with Ligon, who didn't score in the second half. Horan and Graves each added 12 points for the Bulldogs.
Butler will play for the consolation bracket championship at 4 p.m. (EST) on Tuesday.