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Butler uses huge second-half run to edge Ohio State

Dec 2, 2007 - 4:44 AM INDIANAPOLIS (Ticker) -- Freshman Matt Howard scored 23 points and Mike Green chipped in 15 as No. 16 Butler used a second-half surge to defeat Ohio State, 65-46, on Saturday.

A.J. Graves netted 11 of his 14 points after halftime for the Bulldogs, who gladly ruined the return of former coach Thad Matta.

The 40-year-old Matta guided Butler to one of its most successful seasons in 2000-01 - a 24-8 mark and a NCAA tournament berth.

Despite connecting on just 1-of-16 shots from 3-point range in the first half, Butler (7-0) never went away from its offensive scheme and it paid off.

Graves' basket from the arc capped an aggressive 18-8 surge to help Butler tie the game at 38-38 through the first 10 minutes of the second half. It hit four 3-pointers in the stretch.

The Bulldogs continued to add pressure two minutes later as Howard and Graves combined for 16 points during a game-ending 25-6 burst to close out the contest.

Ohio State was outscored 45-16 after the break.

"Unbelievable," Matta said. "You talk about the word I've used all year in 'maturity' and we just did not (show it). I told the guys after the game that we've got to go back to the drawing board. This team is nowhere near it needs to be."

Behind freshman Kosta Koufos and David Lighty, the Buckeyes (4-3) wasted little time jumping ahead in this one, grabbing an impressive 25-11 advantage with 7:09 left in the opening half by freshman Jon Diebler's jumper.

Graves connected on his only shot of the half when he nailed a 3-pointer from the right corner with an Ohio State defender in his face just before the horn to cut Butler's deficit to 30-20 at intermission. He was just 1-of-9 in the opening 20 minutes.

Koufos had 16 points and seven rebounds and Lighty chipped in 12 for the Buckeyes, who shot 45 percent (20-of-44) from the field and committed 24 turnovers.