No. 18 Butler tops Cleveland State 70-59Feb 13, 2010 - 10:38 PM CLEVELAND(AP) -- Butler's strong offense inside and defense outside is what has the 18th-ranked Bulldogs on a roll.
Matt Howard and Gordon Hayward had double-doubles in Butler's 70-59 win over Cleveland State on Saturday that extended the nation's longest winning streak to 15 games.
"They are playing great basketball right now," Cleveland State coach Gary Waters said after the Bulldogs (23-4, 16-0) tied the school record for consecutive wins set in 1999-2000 and matched the best start in Horizon League conference play set by Wisconsin-Green Bay in 1995-96. They also swept the season series from the Vikings (13-13, 9-5), who had beaten them in the conference tournament championship game last season.
"I haven't really thought about the winning streak, but I do know it is a big deal to keep getting better," Bulldogs coach Brad Stevens said. "As long as there is season left, the best moment should not be behind you."
Butler has clinched its fourth straight regular-season title, but wants to win the tournament, too.
"We talk a great deal about working to keep achieving," Howard said. "You allow yourself to settle, only bad things can happen. Cleveland State is always a challenge for us."
Waters said he expects to meet the Bulldogs again in the tournament.
The Vikings will have to play much better, especially in rebounding and shooting. They were outrebounded 46-20 and finished 1 of 15 from beyond the 3-point arc.
Howard and Hayward outrebounded the Vikings by themselves, 24-20. Howard had 21 points and 13 rebounds; Hayward 19 points and 11 rebounds
"Giving them so many second-chance shots and not rebounding really hurt," said D'Aundray Brown, who led Cleveland State with 14 points.
The Vikings had a six-game winning streak snapped and lost for the first time in 15 conference home games. They hadn't lost a home game to a league opponent since falling 50-48 to Butler on Dec. 4, 2008, but took an early lead before getting into foul trouble.
Cleveland State led 16-10 - then went 8 minutes without a field goal. Shelvin Mack scored four points for Butler in a 12-3 run for a 22-19 lead, but the Bulldogs couldn't pull away as they kept turning the ball over.
"That's the one part of our game where I'm not happy," Stevens said. "But it is fixable."
On Thursday night, Butler had 11 turnovers before halftime, then came back to win 68-57 at Youngstown State.
The Bulldogs had nine turnovers in the first half Saturday - but a Cleveland State defensive lapse enabled them to take a 29-27 halftime lead. After Norris Cole converted a three-point play to tie it with 3.9 seconds left, the Vikings allowed Hayward to dribble the length of the court and lay the ball in at the buzzer.
"He's won two games and sent another to overtime on plays like that," Stevens said.
The Bulldogs opened the second half with an 8-2 run. Vikings center Aaron Pogue picked up his fourth foul with 15:11 left and Brown got his fourth 56 seconds later. Butler soon led 43-33.
"Once they got it to 10, they were on cruise control," Waters said.
The Bulldogs' win matched a 15-game streak by Siena that was snapped by Niagara on Friday night.
- NCAA BB
BUTLER (18) 70
CLEVELAND ST 59 FINAL
Feb 13 4:03 PM
- NCAA BB
BUTLER (18) 29
CLEVELAND ST 27 HALFTIME
Feb 13 2:54 PM
- Butler basketball coach agrees to contract extension May 18
- Butler fills assistant coaching void with hire of Schrage May 12
- Butler adds graduate transfer Avery Woodson to roster Apr 25
- Butler partners with bone marrow registry in Smith's honor Mar 18
- Shut out of NCAA games, Butler's mascot hard at work outside Mar 18
- No. 1 seed Virginia prepares for 2nd-round test from Butler Mar 18
- Smith leads 5th school to NCAAs as Texas Tech faces Butler Mar 16
- Emotional season helps Butler finds its way to NCAA tourney Mar 15
- No. 16 Providence rallies late, downs No. 18 Butler 71-68 Jan 19
- No. 24 Butler changing script with more offensive power Nov 9
- Butler gives Holtmann contract extension Mar 30
- Notre Dame needs OT to beat Butler Mar 22