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Wright St.-Butler Preview

Feb 5, 2010 - 7:49 PM By MIKE LIPKA STATS Writer

Wright State (15-8) at Butler (19-4), 8:00 p.m. EDT

There hasn't been much suspense in the last two races for the Horizon League regular-season title, but Butler is on the brink of making this season's chase even less interesting than usual.

The 23rd-ranked Bulldogs can all but lock up at least a share of another conference crown as they put their unbeaten home and Horizon records on the line against second-place Wright State on Saturday night.

After sharing the regular-season title with Wright State in 2006-07, Butler has finished securely atop the standings each of the last two seasons, going a combined 31-5 in conference play.

Although they lost the league's tournament championship game to Cleveland State last season, the Bulldogs (19-4, 12-0) were a near-unanimous pick to finish first again, and they have responded by outscoring Horizon foes by an average of more than 13 points in their 12 victories.

They have a four-game lead on Wright State (15-8, 8-4), and a Butler victory Saturday along with a Cleveland State loss at Loyola of Chicago would clinch at least a share of the conference title for the Bulldogs with five games to play.

Their perfect home record also includes a 74-66 win over then-No. 13 Ohio State on Dec. 12, and they improved to 9-0 at Hinkle Fieldhouse with a 63-58 win over Detroit on Thursday night, the team's 11th straight win overall.

"We're not really looking at 11, we're trying to see if we can't play better in No. 12," Bulldogs coach Brad Stevens said.

Butler also had an 11-game streak last season, but it hasn't won 12 in a row since winning the first 13 games of the 2001-02 season.

The latest victory wasn't the team's prettiest, with the Bulldogs shooting 2 of 13 from 3-point range and matching a season high with 21 turnovers, but they held a fifth straight opponent under 40 percent shooting and were powered by 18 points and 10 rebounds from Gordon Hayward.

"We're just finding ways to win," Hayward said. "That's what you got to do in a tough conference schedule like we have."

Hayward was 10 of 10 from the free throw line against Detroit, one game after going 13 of 16 while matching a season high with 25 points in Sunday's 73-66 win at Milwaukee.

Wright State had little answer for Hayward in Butler's 77-65 road win on Jan. 8, with the sophomore totaling 20 points and nine rebounds while going 13 of 14 from the line.

Sophomore guard Shelvin Mack added 21 points for the Bulldogs in that game, which was the Raiders' fifth straight loss to Butler. Wright State has also dropped five in a row to the Bulldogs in Indianapolis.

The Raiders have won four straight overall after Thursday night's 75-71 victory at Valparaiso. They blew a 15-point lead to the Crusaders but recovered for their second straight road victory, which came after they started 2-7 away from home.

Wright State was boosted by a career-high 18 points from junior guard N'Gai Evans, while leading scorer Vaughn Duggins added 17. Duggins has averaged 16.9 points in nine games since New Year's Day, but he's been held to 8.5 points per game in six career starts against Butler.






  • 15
    roots
    #1 Cards Fan Added 5 roots

    Wright State 62, Butler(23) 74  FinalFeb 7 8:46 PM
  • 10
    roots
    LMPtG1 Added 10 roots

    Wright State 62, Butler(23) 74  FinalFeb 7 3:48 PM


  • NCAA BB
    WRIGHT ST 62
    BUTLER (23) 74 FINAL

    Feb 6 10:10 PM


  • NCAA BB
    HALFTIME 1ST 2ND TOTAL
    --- --- -----
    WRIGHT STATE 29 29
    BUTLER (23) 35 35 HALFTIME
    HIGH SCORERS AT HALFTIME
    WRIGHT STATE - N'GAI EVANS 11, VAUGHN DUGGINS 8, TWO
    PLAYERS WITH 3
    BUTLER - WILLIE VEASLEY 8, ZACH HAHN 7, TWO
    PLAYERS WITH 5

    Feb 6 8:56 PM