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Howard lifts Butler to eighth straight win

Jan 12, 2008 - 10:28 PM INDIANAPOLIS (Ticker) -- Matt Howard enjoys playing within the Horizon League.

Howard scored 17 points as 14th-ranked Butler took control in the first half en route to a 72-56 victory of Wisconsin-Milwaukee on Saturday in a Horizon League matchup.

A 6-8 freshman, Howard has been the Bulldogs' primary inside presence this season. He entered Saturday's game averaging a team-leading 15.6 points in conference games, almost five more than he does in non-league games.

Howard established himself early against the Panthers, scoring 13 points in the first half as the Bulldogs (16-1, 5-1 Horizon) built a 37-19 cushion at the break.

Pete Campbell scored 10 of his 15 points in the first half and A.J. Graves added 11 points for the Bulldogs, who never trailed in beating the Panthers for the 14th time in the last 16 meetings at home.

Butler shot 45 percent (28-of-62), making 8-of-19 attempts from 3-point range. The Bulldogs also committed a season-low five turnovers.

Paige Paulsen scored 14 points and Deion James 13 for Wisconsin-Milwaukee (9-8, 4-3), which had its six-game winning streak snapped.

It was a quick start for the Bulldogs, who raced to a 9-2 lead less than six minutes into the contest.

The Panthers battled back, closing to 14-11 with 11:04 left in the first half following a layup by Jason Averkamp.

But Howard began asserting himself, scoring nine points in a 14-0 surge which gave the Bulldogs a 28-11 cushion with under five minutes before the break. Howard made 5-of-7 shots from the floor in the opening 20 minutes.

The Panthers closed to 42-30 with just over 12 minutes remaining in the contest. However, Howard converted a layup to trigger a 15-6 surge, giving the Bulldogs control for good.

Butler also was strong defensively, holding the Panthers to 36 percent (20-of-57) shooting.

"Defensively, Butler is one of the best, if not the best, team we have seen as far as guarding us and guarding our motion stuff," Panthers coach Rob Jeter said. "The margin for error is slim when you play a team like Butler here, or anywhere for that matter."

    --- --- -----
    WISC MILWAUKEE 19 37 56
    BUTLER (14) 37 35 72 FINAL

    Jan 12 3:53 PM


    Jan 12 2:47 PM