Butler rolls despite absence of GravesJan 13, 2007 - 11:24 PM INDIANAPOLIS (Ticker) -- A.J. Graves was unable to play after having dental surgery. Butler still had more than enough teeth to take care of South Dakota State.
Marcus Nellems hit three 3-pointers in the first half when the 12th-ranked Bulldogs built a 19-point lead en route to a 62-47 victory over South Dakota State.
Coming off an overtime loss at Illinois-Chicago on Wednesday, Butler (15-2) stepped out of the Horizon League to host the Jackrabbits (4-13), who are playing their second full season of a Division I schedule.
The Bulldogs played without their leading scorer Graves, who had four wisdom teeth removed Thursday. The junior guard averaged 18.8 points in the team's first 16 games and is the nation's leader in free throw percentage (98.8).
"A.J.'s obviously a great player, but we don't have a system for one guy," Butler coach Todd Lickliter said.
Nellems, a reserve who averages just 3.1 points, helped to pick up the slack with his three baskets from the arc in the first half, when Bradley opened a 33-14 lead.
Pete Campbell, another reserve who averaged 3.4 points, also connected on a pair of shots from the arc in the first half and finished with 11 points.
Brandon Crone led the Bulldogs with 14 points, including 11 in the second half.
"With or without A.J., we have a system in place," Crone said. "But with his penetration and skills, we still had to make a little adjustment."
Kai Williams topped South Dakota State with 12 points and Garrett Callahan added 11.
The Jackrabbits appeared nervous in the first half when they made just 4-of-20 shots.
"The first 24 minutes, we were about as tight offensively as we could be," South Dakota State coach Scott Nagy said.
The only points for the Jackrabbits in the first 13 minutes were a pair of shots from the arc by Callahan. Meanwhile, Campbell and Nellems ignited a 13-0 run with 3-pointers.
"That was the best defense we've seen all year," Callahan said.
Matt Cadwell, South Dakota State's leading scorer at 14.2 points, was held to seven on 2-of-9 shooting.
Julian Betko, Mike Green and Crone opened the second half with baskets to increase the advantage to 39-14.
A 3-pointer by Campbell gave the Bulldogs their biggest lead at 45-19 with 12:49 left.
- NCAA BB
FINAL 1ST 2ND TOTAL
--- --- -----
SO DAKOTA ST 14 33 47
BUTLER (12) 33 29 62 FINAL
Jan 13 3:52 PM
- NCAA BB
SO DAKOTA ST 14
BUTLER (12) 33 HALFTIME
Jan 13 2:46 PM
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