No. 12 Butler routs Wright St. 70-45
INDIANAPOLIS: Shelvin Mack scored all 14 of his points in the first half, and Matt Howard had 14 points and nine rebounds to help No. 12 Butler rout second-seeded Wright State 70-45 in the Horizon League title game Tuesday night.
Butler (28-4) extended the nation's longest winning streak to 20 and heads into NCAA play as the only Division I team to complete a perfect conference season. The Bulldogs are 20-0 against league foes, including tourney games. They also won the regular-season title by a record six games.
Butler tied two more records. The Bulldogs have now won six tourney titles, tying Xavier for the most in league history, and win No. 28 in conference tourney play matched Detroit's record.
The Raiders (20-12) were led by N'Gai Evans with 13 points, but lost for the third time this season and seventh in a row to Butler. But they did avoid a record for worst loss in a championship game by making two free throws with 3.8 seconds left. Xavier beat Detroit by 26 points in the 1988 title game.
But Butler was on a mission Tuesday night.
After watching Cleveland State celebrate its title game upset at Hinkle Fieldhouse last year, Butler wanted to make sure it wouldn't suffer the same fate Tuesday.
Not a chance.
Butler was on from the start.
Mack opened the game with two straight 3-pointers and Howard followed that with a three-point play — all in the first 3:03. It set the tone for the rest of the half.
Mack's third 3 gave Butler a 17-9 lead eight minutes into the game, and the Bulldogs extended that lead to 42-28 at the half — courtesy of Mack's fourth 3 with 43 seconds left in the half.
Butler finished the half shooting 14 of 21 from the field, 8 of 13 from beyond the arc and were 6 of 6 on free throws. The eight 3s, coupled with Howard's two three-point plays, accounted for 30 of Butler's 42 first-half points.
In the second half, it was all about defense. Butler extended the lead to 51-30 with 15:35 to go, and demoralized Wright State only scored 17 points in the final 20 minutes.