Horizon League Semis: Butler Rolls Over UIC
INDIANAPOLIS -- The script worked out just like it was planned. The 14th ranked team in the country and #1 seed hosting the semifinal game pounds their opponent into submission to play in the championship game on their court Tuesday night.
Butler became the sixth straight number one seed to advance to the Horizon League Championship game by beating University of Illinois-Chicago 66-50.
This started out pretty well for UIC (18-15) as they jumped out to a 4-0 lead on a layup by Robert Bush and a lob from Stewart Spencer resulting in a thunderous dunk by Jermaine Dailey.
A quick layup by Mike Green and then a 3-pointer by A. J. Graves put Butler (28-3) up 5-4 at the 17:35 mark.
The Flames went back up by one when Dailey made a layup to make it 6-5 with 16:21 left.
UIC maintained a small lead until they finally pushed the lead up to five points when Scott Vandemeer was fouled by Butler’s Willie Veasley and made one of the two free throws to make it 16-11 at the 10:18 mark.
Butler went on an 18-2 run toward the end of the first half that resulted in a 10 point lead going into halftime at 34-24. The amazing thing was that Mike Green was responsible for 16 of the 18 points by either scoring or getting the assist.
Coming out of the half Butler continued the charge by going on a 19-5 run to push their lead to 24 points at 56-32 with 8:59 left in the game.
The Vikings whittled the lead down to 15 points with 2:07 remaining when Robert Kreps hit a 3-pointer to make it 63-48.
Two more free throws by Krebs and a 3-pointer by Pete Campbell for Butler got the final score to 66-50.
Butler really put the game away from 3-point land making 12 in 27 attempts (44.4 percent) and by just turning the ball over eight times.
Campbell who was 5-10 from 3-point land said 3-point shooting is what Butler looks to do.
“It is something we look to do. The important thing is when you hit shots like that you get stops on the other end. That’s what builds the lead and that’s what we need to do at certain points in the game,” explained Campbell.
Green led all scorers with 19 points, he was 5-8 from the field and 8-10 from the charity stripe plus he had seven assists.
“Mike had a great game, no question about it. He has played like that all season,’ said Butler coach Brad Stevens. “He played with great poise and found different guys, he found the right guys at the right time.”
It wasn’t just Stevens praising Green, UIC coach Jimmy Collins thinks he may be the Horizon League Player of the Year.
“He is the player of the year. He is a tremendous leader for this team. Green looks to set up everybody else. When he doesn’t get that accomplished he scores,” said Collins. .