November 18, 2006

Bulldogs Outlast Illinois-Springfield, 62-56

Nov. 18, 2006

Box Score

Junior Drew Streicher scored a career-high 15 points and added seven rebounds to lead Butler to a 62-56 victory over visiting Illinois-Springfield in a non-league game at Hinkle Fieldhouse on Saturday, Nov. 18. The victory was Butler's fourth in as many outings this season, while Illinois-Springfield fell to 5-2.

Streicher came off the bench and hit four of six shots from the floor, including two of three from beyond the three-point arc, and added five of six from the charity stripe. He tallied nine points in the final ten minutes of the contest to help the Bulldogs hold off a charging Illinois-Springfield squad. His seven rebounds matched teammate Brandon Crone for game-high honors.

The Prairie Stars closed to within three points of Butler, 51-48, on a layup by guard Eddie Smith with 2:49 left in the contest. But the Bulldogs answered with a basket by junior Mike Green and a pair of free throws by Streicher to stretch the margin back to seven. Illinois-Springfield didn't get closer than five points the rest of the way. Butler made five of six free throws in the final 19 seconds to hold on to the lead.

"I have a lot of respect for Illinois-Springfield. I told people they were good," state Butler head coach Todd Lickliter. "Anytime you line up against somebody and you have to fight and tough it out and you end up winning, that's a good thing for your kids. That's a good standard for Butler basketball."

The Bulldogs did have to fight the entire evening. Illinois-Springfield, an NAIA Division I program, had several leads in the first half and trailed by just seven points, 33-26, at halftime. Butler did stretch the margin to as many as 11 points midway through the second half, but the Prairie Stars battled back to make it a single possession game with less than five minutes remaining.

Streicher was one of three Bulldogs to score in double-figures. Crone added 12 points, while junior A. J. Graves had ten. Junior Mike Green, who scored in double-figures in Butler's first three games, finished with seven points, three assists and four steals.

Smith, a transfer from Texas A & M, led all scorers in the game with 29 points. He scored the Prairie Stars' final ten points.

Butler will travel to New York on Tuesday, Nov. 21, and will play Tennessee in the semifinals of the NIT Season Tip-Off at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday, Nov. 22. That contest is slated for 7 p.m. and will be televised nationally on ESPN2.