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Wisconsin-Green Bay denies Butler league record

Feb 3, 2009 - 6:40 AM GREEN BAY, Wisconsin (Ticker) -- Senior Ryan Tillema was sick of seeing Butler walk out of the Resch Center with a win.

Tillema scored 21 points and Troy Cotton added 19 as Wisconsin-Green Bay snapped No. 11 Butler's 21-game winning streak in the Horizon League with Monday's 75-66 upset.

Rahmon Fletcher added 13 points and five assists for the Phoenix (18-6, 10-2 Horizon), who also halted the Bulldogs' nine straight wins in the series, including four straight here dating back to the 2005-06 season.

Despite those stats, Wisconsin-Green Bay coach Tod Kowalczyk was not willing to concede that Butler had a better-than-average chance to win.

"I wouldn't look at it as an upset," he said. "You look at that game and say, home against Butler, that's a game I would like to think our program is at the point were we should win."

Freshman Gordon Hayward had 22 points and seven rebounds for the Bulldogs (19-2, 10-1), who had an 11-game winning streak snapped in falling a game shy of setting the Horizon record for most consecutive league wins.

The first team to win 21 straight games in the Horizon League was, coincidentally, Wisconsin-Green Bay, which claimed just its third win in 30 all-time meetings with a ranked opponent.

The Horizon League Player of the Week for the previous week, Tillema came off the bench to shoot 5-of-10 from the field and convert 10-of-12 free throws.

"I felt like I wasn't overly aggressive (in the first half), but I didn't want to force too many shots," he said. "In the second half, I tried to take the ball to the hoop and ended up getting fouled."

Tillema had just three points at the half, but Wisconsin-Green Bay held a 30-28 edge after Cotton hit one of his three 3-pointers with 30 seconds remaining.

Tillema hit a pair of jumpers in the first two minutes after halftime, helping the Phoenix extend the lead to 36-31.

Hayward answered back with a 3-pointer for Butler, but Wisconsin-Green Bay later put together an 8-0 run at the free-throw line to take a 46-36 advantage with 14:45 left. Tillema was twice fouled attempting a shot from the arc during that stretch, converting all six foul shots.

The Phoenix would maintain a comfortable margin until the Bulldogs made it 59-55 following two successful free throws by Matt Howard with 4:40 remaining.

Tillema responded with a layup 15 seconds later, blocked a layup attempt by Ronald Nored on Butler's next possession and later made two more free throws for a 63-57 lead with 3:17 to play.

Cotton, who was named the latest player of the week earlier Monday, connected on another 3-pointer to make it a nine-point lead with 2:10 left.

Wisconsin-Green Bay added 9-of-10 free throws down the stretch, and finished 32-of-35 from the stripe en route to winning for the eighth time in its last nine games.

"I don't know what people around the country say," Butler coach Brad Stevens said. "I watch a lot of basketball teams, and I haven't seen many better than Green Bay this year.

"Whether or not the outside knows as much is not important to me. You'd like for the perception to equal reality but at the end of the day, our team, our school, our players, our staff ... we think Green Bay is a great basketball team."

The Phoenix also committed only four turnovers.

Howard had 14 points and freshman Shelvin Mack added 10 for Butler, which shot 38 percent (20-of-53).

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    BUTLER (11) 28 38 66

    Feb 2 10:13 PM

    (11) BUTLER 28

    Feb 2 8:57 PM
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    RUWTbot Added 70 roots (Upset)

    Butler(11) 28, Wisconsin-Green Bay 30  HalfFeb 2 8:57 PM