December 6, 2005

Butler Overcomes Bradley, 70-60

Dec. 6, 2005

Box Score

Senior Brandon Polk led five Bulldogs in double-figures with 17 points and Butler out-scored visiting Bradley by 14 points in the final 20 minutes to grab a 70-60 victory in a non-league game at Hinkle Fieldhouse on Tuesday, Dec. 6. The victory was Butler's third in a row and lifted the Bulldogs to 5-3 on the season, while Bradley fell to 3-2.

The Bulldogs, who trailed by as many as seven points in the first half and 30-26 at halftime, rallied in the final nine minutes of the contest to grab the victory. Butler used a 14-4 scoring run to turn a 48-44 deficit into a 58-52 advantage. Senior Bruce Horan hit a pair of three-point field goals in the run and junior Julian Betko added four points. Junior Brandon Crone capped the run with a three-point field goal with 4:25 remaining.

"They were beating us to the ball early and we had to adjust during the game," said Butler head coach Todd Lickliter after the hard-fought win. "I thought our guys responded well."

The Bulldogs held on down the stretch, scoring nine of their final 12 points from the free throw line. Sophomore A. J. Graves his three charity tosses in the final two minutes, while Crone and Polk each added a pair.

Bradley jumped to an early 8-2 advantage and maintained a lead for most of the first half. The Bulldogs led briefly at 13-12 and 16-14, but Bradley had the edge the rest of the way. The Braves took their biggest lead at 28-21 with 4:29 left in the initial half.

Graves opened the second half with a three-point field goal and Crone added four consecutive points to tie the game at 33-33. From there, the two teams traded leads until Butler's decisive run.

"(Butler) made plays when (it) needed to down the stretch, especially the hustle plays, the physical plays, the plays in the paint," said Bradley head coach Jim Les.

Polk scored nine of his points after intermission, and he had six of his team-high eight rebounds in the final 20 minutes. Crone finished with 14 points and six rebounds, while Horan, Graves and Betko each added 11 points.

Bradley's Marcellus Sommerville led all scorers in the game with 23 points, while Zach Andrews added 11 points and 11 rebounds.

The Bulldogs, who were out-rebounded by Bradley, 44-18, a year ago, did a better job of staying with the Braves on the boards, trailing only 34-27.

Butler will have an 11-day layoff before returning to the court to host Indiana State on Saturday, Dec. 17. That game in Hinkle Fieldhouse is slated for 2 p.m.