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Butler tops Milwaukee for another Horizon League title

Mar 9, 2011 - 4:26 AM Milwaukee, WI (Sports Network) - Butler can relax when the NCAA Tournament field is announced on Sunday, as Matt Howard's 18 points powered last year's national runner-up past Milwaukee, 59-44, to capture the Horizon League Tournament title.

Shelvin Mack added 14 points for the Bulldogs (23-9), winners of nine straight after a slow start following a memorable 2010 Final Four run.

Anthony Hill ended with 10 points and eight rebounds for the Panthers (19-13), who had won 10 of 11 coming in and knocked off the defending conference champions twice in the regular season to earn the No. 1 seed and home-court advantage.

The crowd was taken out of it less than five minutes into the game, as Howard hit a pair of three-pointers to spark a 14-0 run that lasted seven minutes and saw Butler jump out to a 23-6 lead.

The margin at the break was 33-20, but Milwaukee got back into it with a flurry to start the second half. Tony Meier made a pair from behind the arc, Tone Boyle made three free throws and Ryan Allen put in a layup to cut the deficit to 38-34 four minutes in.

Allen had another lay-in around the midway point to make it a three-point game, 42-39, but Butler took over from there. Howard and Shawn Vanzant each converted inside on consecutive possessions, and Howard added a dunk to push the lead to 48-39 with just over eight minutes to go.

Boyle made a free throw to stop the run, but Chase Stigall and Mack both answered with makes from long range to all but seal the outcome.

Game Notes

This was the Bulldogs' seventh conference tournament crown...Milwaukee has not won it since 2006...Boyle and Meier both ended with 10 points for Milwaukee, which shot 30.0 percent from the floor.