Bulldogs Roll To 84-55 Victory At UIC

Sophomore Gordon Hayward scored a season-high 25 points and teammate Shelvin Mack added 15 to lead Butler to an 84-55 Horizon League victory over UIC at the UIC Pavilion on Saturday (Jan. 23).  The win, Butler’s eighth in a row, lifted the #20-ranked Bulldogs to 16-4 on the year and 9-0 in the Horizon League.

Hayward scored 17 of his points in the first half to help the Bulldogs pull away to a 37-26 halftime lead.  He hit seven of 11 shots in the first 20 minutes, including two of four from beyond the three-point arc.  He added eight more in the second half, as the Bulldogs steadily stretched the margin to as many as 32 points.

Mack split his points with seven in the first half and eight in the second.  All 15 Butler players saw action and 13 cracked the scoring column.

“I was really pleased with the energy we played with,” said Butler head coach Brad Stevens after the victory.  “It can be tough to turn around and comeback in 36 hours, but our energy was really good.”

The Bulldogs jumped out to an early lead and only trailed once in the game at 11-10.  Mack hit a three-point field goal with 14:17 left in the first half to give Butler a 13-11 advantage, and the Bulldogs never looked back.  Mack’s two free throws with 1:07 left in the first half gave Butler its first double-figures lead, 34-24.

UIC (5-14, 1-8 Horizon League) trimmed the lead to 37-28 with the first basket of the second half, but the Bulldogs answered with two free throws by Hayward and a basket by Mack and the lead never fell below double-figures for the rest of the game.

Hayward scored his 25 points in 27 minutes of action.  He added a team-high eight rebounds, two assists, two blocked shots and two steals.  His 25 points matched the second-highest single game total of his Butler career.

The win was the 101st for Butler seniors Willie Veasley and Nick Rodgers, making them the all-time winningest players in Butler basketball history.  Four previous players (Joel Cornette, Darnell Archey, Lewis Curry and Mike Moore, all 2000-03) had 100 career wins.

“Obviously, it’s a huge accomplishment,” said Veasley of the 101st win.  “It’s something not a lot of people get an opportunity to do, and it’s a great honor.”

The Bulldogs, who struggled from the field in a one-point win over Loyola on Thursday (Jan. 21), had their third-best shooting performance of the season, hitting 28 of 50 (.560) shots in the win.  Butler out-rebounded UIC, 34-26, and the Bulldogs committed just nine turnovers in the game, including none in the second half!

Butler will continue it’s current four-game road stretch with games at Green Bay on Jan. 29 and Milwaukee on Jan. 31.  Green Bay currently sits in second place in the league standings with a 6-3 record.