for this game

Loyola hands Butler stunning loss

Feb 15, 2009 - 10:08 PM INDIANAPOLIS (Ticker) -- Loyola of Chicago spoiled the anticipated party at Hinkle Fieldhouse.

Freshman Jordan Hicks scored a career-high 23 points as the Ramblers handed 15th-ranked Butler a rare home loss with a 71-67 upset Sunday.

The stunning loss to a sub-.500 team prevented the Bulldogs from clinching at least a share of their third straight Horizon League regular-season title.

Loyola (13-15, 5-11) held on after holding an 11-point in the final three minutes to snap a six-game losing streak. The Ramblers suffered a 78-55 home defeat to Butler on January 15.

Matt Howard scored a career-best 30 points for Butler (22-3, 13-2) which had won 54 of their previous 58 games at Hinkle Fieldhouse, including 16 in a row.

The Bulldogs are still in good shape with a two-game lead over second-place Green Bay (11-4) in the Horizon with three league games remaining. Their next attempt to clinch at least a tie for the conference title comes Wednesday at Milwaukee.

Butler was sluggish from virtually the opening tip and trailed the entire game after scoring the game's first basket.

Loyola used runs of 11-0 and 9-0 to open a 34-16 lead before settling for a 37-23 advantage at the intermission.

Howard, who sparked Butler in the second half with 21 points, hit a free throw to pull the Bulldogs within 69-67 with 30 seconds remaining.

Butler regained possession with 16 seconds left following a Loyola turnover, but Gordon Hayward threw away the ball and Justin Cerasoli hit two free throws with four seconds to play to clinch the victory.

Cerasoli scored 17 points and Marcus Thomas added 10 off the bench for Loyola.

Hayward contributed 14 points and Willie Veasley chipped in with 13 for Butler.