Butler Rolls Over Wright State, 64-48

    
January 9th, 2009

INDIANAPOLIS -  When a team makes three more baskets and eight more foul shots than their opponent, then they are going to win and tonight that team was Butler, as they defeated Wright State 64-48.

Tonight it was all Butler, all the time, as they scored the first basket and never allowed the Wright State (8-8, 2-3 HL) to get a lead.

Against tough defense by the Raiders Butler was masterful as they spread the defense forcing the Raider defender to come out and defend Gordon Haywood, Willie Veasley, Shelvin Mack and Shawn Vanzant, because any of them could sink a 3-pointer in a heartbeat.   That opened up the middle for Matt Howard.  When the defense collapsed on Howard he kicked the ball back out to an open player on the perimeter.

To further complicate things for the Wright State's defense Gordon Haywood is a 6' 8" perimeter player that can shoot over or pass around most defenders. 

This all adds up to one big headache for any team's defense, even a very good defense like Wright State's.

Butler (13-1, 4-0) started the game with a jump shot by Veasley, a layup by Ronald Nored and a layup by Howard.  He was fouled by Corey Coperwood and he made the foul shot for the three point play.

Then it started raining 3-pointers as Haywood made two and Vanzant hit one to put Butler up 18-7 at the 12:47 mark.

With 3:35 left Butler went up by 20 points at 34-14 when Haywood again hit a 3-pointer.

Wright State clawed back as N'Gai Evans hit a 3-pointer followed by two foul shots from Kyle Pressley and two from Will Graham to make it a 13 point Butler lead at 34-21 at halftime.

"We got beat early, Butler came out and made shots and put us back on our heels. We don't have quite the firepower of some teams in the league," explained Brownell.   "When Butler made their first few shots and we weren't scoring it gave Butler some confidence to build on."

In the second half Butler came out and scored the first five points to go up by 18 points at 39-21.

Wright State fought and clawed as they got the lead down to eight points on a layup by John David Gardner at the 7:26 mark.

The Bulldogs went back to work and built the lead back up to 18 points largely on free throws at 62-44 with 3:08 left.

Butler only committed eight turnovers which Butler coach Brad Stevens pointed out is how they win games.

"We shot it or got fouled very possession but eight when we turned it over and that is a formula for success," he said.  "This is a team (Wright State) you never feel confident with since they are so tough on both ends of the court."

Butler held the Raiders to 33.4 percent shooting percentage for the game and Wright State held Butler to 44.2 percent shooting.

Stevens pointed to defense and execution as two areas of play he stresses.

"One of the things you are always thinking about is defense.  You just have to play and execute on every procession," he said.

Brownell certainly liked Butler's defense. 

"The thing that is misleading is their defense is good.  Their defense is really good and I think that gets over-looked in the offensive numbers," said Brownell.

Notes:

-Wright State has handed Butler three of its last nine losses.  The Raiders were one of just four teams to defeat the Bulldogs last season, and the only team to beat Butler twice in 2006-07.

-Butler entered this week with the most wins of any Division I team in Indiana.  The Bulldogs have led the state of Indiana in victories in each of the lat three seasons.

-The Bulldogs are 11-3 in their last 14 games against schools from BCS conferences.

-Butler is the only team in the Horizon League without a senior on the roster.

-Butler leads the all-time series 18-15.

-Butler's next game is Saturday at 2 p.m. against Detroit.