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Green, Butler overcome sluggish first half

Jan 5, 2008 - 11:53 PM INDIANAPOLIS (Ticker) -- Mike Green and No. 17 Butler shook off the rust from a long layoff.

Green scored 17 of his 24 points in the second half to help the Bulldogs post a 73-65 victory over Valparaiso in a Horizon League contest on Saturday.

Butler (13-1, 2-1 Horizon) had not played since December 28 when it beat Southern Illinois, 57-55, thanks to a 3-pointer from A.J. Graves in the final seconds.

It appeared evident the long layoff was not a good thing, as the Bulldogs shot just 34 percent (8-for-23) in the first half while playing the Crusaders to a 31-31 tie.

Butler, which entered the game ranked in the top 10 in 3-point percentage, shot just 3-of-11 from the arc in the first half. Normally a good ball-handling team, the Bulldogs turned the ball over 10 times in the first 10 minutes.

But in the second half, Butler kicked it into gear behind Green as they picked up their fifth straight win and matched the best start in school history.

Green shot 5-of-9 from the floor and 11-of-14 from the free-throw line.

It was a back-and-forth game for the first 29 minutes before Green scored nine points during a 16-6 run midway through the second half that helped the Bulldogs take a 58-45 lead with 5:30 remaining.

However, the Crusaders (11-4, 2-1), who are new to the Horizon League, shot 48 percent (24-of-50) from the floor and hung around until the final minutes.

Jarryd Loyd scored six straight points to trim the lead to 58-51 with 4:09 to play. However, Pete Campbell's 3-pointer sparked an 8-4 run and Valparaiso could only get as close as 66-61 with 54 seconds left.

Butler then hit seven of its final eight free throws to seal the win. Overall, the Bulldogs converted 28-of-33 free throws.

It was the first meeting between the schools as league rivals since February of 1978 when Butler won a matchup of Indiana Collegiate Conference foes.

Loyd finished with 15 points for Valparaiso, which shot just 58 percent (10-of-17) from the free-throw line.