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Howard powers Butler past Detroit

Dec 7, 2007 - 3:47 AM DETROIT (Ticker) -- Freshman Matt Howard came through again.

Howard scored 20 points and grabbed 11 rebounds as No. 13 Butler posted a 53-46 conference victory over Detroit on Thursday.

Mike Green scored four of his nine points in the last 18 seconds and Julian Betko and A.J. Graves each scored eight points for the Bulldogs (8-0, 1-0 Horizon League), who have started with eight straight wins for the second consecutive season.

Butler has the 6-9 Howard to thank for its last two wins.

On Saturday, Howard had a career-high 23 points along with seven rebounds off the bench as Butler rallied to beat Ohio State, 65-46.

Against the Titans, Howard, who connected on 8-of-13 from the floor, had 16 second-half points to hold off Detroit.

"My job was just to go out and play tough," Howard said. "I had a tough first half, but guys started looking for me later in the game."

With the score tied at 42-42, Betko nailed a 3-pointer with 2:30 left to put the Bulldogs ahead to stay. Howard then made two layups, including one with 60 seconds remaining to increase Butler's advantage to 49-44.

"He made some amazing plays," Butler coach Brad Stevens said of Howard, who made his first career start in place of Pete Campbell, who left Saturday's game with a knee injury.

After Eulis Stephens' layup with 40 seconds left, Green made two free throws before his layup with 10 seconds remaining sealed the win.

Butler, which had a 28-18 advantage in points in the paint, shot 40 percent (19-of-48).

Jon Goode scored 21 points and Chris Hayes scored seven for Detroit (4-4, 0-1), which shot 45 percent (17-of-38) but lost for a ninth consecutive time to a ranked opponent.

"When they scored on us, a lot of the baskets were because of defensive breakdowns," Detroit coach Perry Watson said. "When they needed to make a play, they made it and we didn't."