Green, Butler advance to third straight Horizon finalMar 9, 2008 - 5:43 AM INDIANAPOLIS (Ticker) -- Mike Green and No. 12 Butler brushed aside Illinois-Chicago and now have their sights set on a prize that has eluded them the last two seasons.
Green scored 19 points as the Top-seeded Bulldogs advanced to the championship game of the Horizon League tournament with a 66-50 victory over the No. 4 seed Flames on Saturday.
Pete Campbell scored 15 points and A.J. Graves added 14 for Butler (28-3), which hit 12 3-pointers and improved to 10-0 at home vs. Horizon opponents.
The Bulldogs will host No. 2 seed Cleveland State on Tuesday with a chance to claim their first conference title since 2001.
Butler hopes its lofty home mark will help end that drought. The last two seasons, the Bulldogs have gone on the road and fallen in the title game. In 2006, they were denied by Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and last season it was Wright State.
Not that Butler has needed to win the title game to go dancing in March. Last season, the Bulldogs earned an at-large bid and reached the "Sweet 16" before falling to eventual national champion Florida.
Having already set school and league records for wins, Butler is a lock for the NCAA Tournament.
However, Green helped get the Bulldogs one step closer to the goal of a league title. He scored eight points during a 16-6 run which broke open a tie game and gave Butler a 34-24 edge after 20 minutes.
The Bulldogs were not slowed by the intermission, opening the second half on an 19-5 run to take a 53-29 lead with 12:03 left and never looking back.
Illinois-Chicago hit only two shots from the field the in final 11 minutes of the first half and first three minutes of the second period, sealing its fate.
The second half started the way the first ended for both teams. Matt Howard hit a pair of layups and Green added a 3-pointer and a pair free throws for a 43-25 edge. The Flames then missed 14 of their next 16 shots.
Robert Kreps scored 15 for Illinois-Chicago (19-15), which shot just 30 percent (16-of-53) from the floor.
However, Kreps' numbers were deceiving since 11 of his points came in the final minutes when the outcome already was determined.
- HORIZON LEAGUE TOURNAMENT
NCAA BB HORIZON LEAGUE TOURNAMENT
FINAL 1ST 2ND TOTAL
--- --- -----
ILLINOIS CHI 24 26 50
BUTLER (12) 34 32 66 FINAL
Mar 8 8:59 PM
- HORIZON LEAGUE TOURNAMENT
NCAA BB ILLINOIS CHI 24
(12) BUTLER 34 HALFTIME
Mar 8 7:56 PM
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