Late surge helps Butler fend off ValparaisoJan 31, 2009 - 8:21 AM INDIANAPOLIS (Ticker) -- Butler was uncharacteristically sloppy with the ball, but it still found a way to continue its dominance of the Horizon League.
Freshman Gordon Hayward scored 18 points and Willie Veasley added 13 as No. 13 Butler used a late run to post a 59-51 victory, staving off a feisty Valparaiso team on Friday.
Matt Howard chipped in nine points and 11 rebounds for the Bulldogs (19-1, 10-0 Horizon), who won their 21st straight Horizon League game. It was Butler's 11th consecutive win overall.
The Bulldogs, who came into the came averaging 11.7 turnovers, shot 38 percent (17-of-45) and committed 18 turnovers.
"I don't think all of us were here tonight, and that's kind of a bad thing for us," Hayward told the Indianapolis Star. "But we're definitely going to bounce back and be ready for the next game."
With Butler sluggish on the offensive end, Valparaiso was able to stay close and eventually took its first lead of the game at 43-41 on a pair of free throws by freshman Logan Jones late in the second half.
However, Butler answered with 11 straight points - six coming from Veasley - to take a 52-43 advantage with 2:15 left.
Michael Rogers made a 3-pointer from the left corner, and Jake Diebler's four-point play cut the deficit to 52-50 with 1:31 to play. But Butler made 7-of-10 free throws down the stretch to help seal the victory, as Valparaiso never had the ball with a chance to tie.
"I'm really, really proud of our guys to win games like that," Butler coach Brad Stevens told the newspaper. "It's a lot tougher than maybe people know. They just find a way to win."
Urule Igbavboa, who missed a pair of free throws that would have made it a two-point game with 54 seconds left, scored 15 points to lead the Crusaders (6-16, 3-8).
"I was very pleased with our effort on the defensive end in both halves and with our moxie in fighting back from deficits, both early on and in the second half," Crusaders coach Homer Drew said. "We just committed too many turnovers (21) and gave up too many second-chance opportunities, and Butler made the plays they needed to win the game."
Butler started fast, scoring the game's first 10 points as Veasley and Hayward made consecutive 3-pointers to cap the run.
Valparaiso fought back, however, as De'Andre Haskins' 3-pointer capped an 11-0 burst and evened the contest at 19-19 with 2:15 left in the first half.
Butler held a 24-22 lead at the break and scored the first six points of the second half to extend the advantage to eight.
But Valparaiso continued to hang tough, and Igbavboa's 3-pointer tied it at 37-37 with 8:24 remaining. Jones made a pair from the line to give the Crusaders the lead, but Valparaiso then went nearly four minutes without a point as Butler surged ahead.
Jones was the only other Crusaders player in double figures with a season-high 10 points.
"I really thought this was the best game of Logan's career so far," Drew said. "He did a great job handling the basketball for us and making sound decisions with the ball in his hands."
- NCAA BB
FINAL 1ST 2ND TOTAL
--- --- -----
VALPARAISO 22 29 51
BUTLER (13) 24 35 59 FINAL
Jan 30 9:06 PM
- NCAA BB
(13) BUTLER 24 HALFTIME
Jan 30 7:49 PM
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