Hot shooting nets Butler seventh straight winFeb 15, 2008 - 8:02 AM INDIANAPOLIS (Ticker) -- When the shots are falling, No. 10 Butler is hard to beat.
Mike Green led the way with 17 points and A.J. Graves chipped in 15 to lead the Bulldogs to am 89-73 victory over Youngstown State in a Horizon League matchup on Thursday.
Matt Howard added 12 points and Avery Jukes came off the bench to score 11 for Butler (23-2, 12-2 Horizon), which won its seventh straight game and 15th in the last 16 contests.
The game was decided in the first half as the Bulldogs got off to a furious start, shooting 69 percent (18-of-26) in the first 20 minutes. Green and Graves combined to shoot 8-of-9 from the floor and 3-of-4 from the arc for 23 points.
The hot shooting was especially satisfying for Graves, who had combined to shoot 6-for-25 in the past two contests. Graves averaged 16.9 points per game last season, but has seen that average slip to 13.8 in the current campaign.
The senior backcourt duo also accounted for eight of Butler's 12 first-half rebounds and Green went 4-of-5 from the free throw line en route to helping the Bulldogs take a 50-34 lead at the break.
The Penguins (8-17, 4-11) pulled to within 23-21 after 7-0 run capped by Vytas Sulskis' free throw with 7:41 remaining in the opening half, but the Bulldogs closed on a 27-13 run to take control.
Butler showed no signs of slowing down after the break, starting the second half on a 9-2 run to push the lead to 59-36 with 16:02 left to play. Green capped the run with a 3-pointer and Howard scored six points during the spurt to put the game out of reach.
Graves added a pair of 3-pointers minutes later before the starters yielded to the reserves. Seldom-used freshman Shawn Vanzant gave the Bulldogs their biggest lead of the night, 75-49, on a layup with 9:02 left in the game.
Butler forced 13 turnovers which led to 21 points and scored 34 points in the paint - thanks mainly to Howard's effort. The forward served as the Bulldog's only true post presence and succeeded in opening up the middle for the driving guards.
Butler finished the game 33-of-53 (56 percent) from the floor, including 13-of-20 (65 percent) from the arc. The Bulldogs can clinch at least a tie for the league title with a win against Cleveland State on Saturday.
Butler's 23 wins match last season's total as the best mark in school history.
Byron Davis scored 20 points on 9-of-15 shooting to lead Youngstown State, which shot an impressive 58 percent (28-of-48) from the floor but could not match the pace of the home team.
Vance Cooksey scored 15 points for the Penguins, who have lost eight of nine.
- NCAA BB
FINAL 1ST 2ND TOTAL
--- --- -----
YOUNGSTOWN ST 34 39 73
BUTLER (10) 50 39 89 FINAL
Feb 14 8:56 PM
- NCAA BB
YOUNGSTOWN ST 34
(10) BUTLER 50 HALFTIME
Feb 14 7:52 PM
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