The experience of the Bulldogs showed as they were able to fight through 21 turnovers to grab a 63-58 victory over Detroit Thursday night at Hinkle Fieldhouse. Butler moved to 19-4 on the season and a perfect 12-0 in Horizon League play becoming the first team in school history to start 12-0 in league play.
Butler opened the game on a 10-0 run in the first three minutes of the game before Detroit came back and took a one point lead with ten minutes left in the half. The game was a hard fought battle in the paint from that point on. "There was no doubt that it was probably going to come down to the end," said sophomore Ronald Nored. "In the past three games we have played them it has been a one possession game."
Gordon Hayward led all players with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Hayward was also a perfect 10-10 from the free throw line. "I was guarding the point guard so it's my job to go in and clean up," said Hayward. "I didn't have to box out so it my job to go in and get rebounds that were in the air."
Matt Howard added 11 points and six rebounds in 24 minutes of action before fouling out. "He is catching it with more of a scorers mentality, and he going after people and that's what he has to do for us to be successful," said Nored. Howard has scored in double figures the past three games.
Nored scored seven of his nine points in the second half and led the team with five assists on the night. "They were literally playing on top of Gordan and Matt," said Nored. "That opened up the lane for me to get wide open layups." Nored also added a team-high two steals in the first half.
The 21 turnovers for the Bulldogs tied the season high from the game against Minnesota. "I know they are extremely good defensively," said Coach Stevens when asked why the team had so many turnovers. "This is an extremely strong conference." Stevens also mentioned that Detroit is a much better team than the polls and RPI give them credit for.
Both teams struggled to establish a flow with the amount of turnovers and fouls. The two teams combined for 37 turnovers in the game and each team added 22 fouls. "The biggest thing is that we're finding ways to win," said Hayward. The 22 fouls were four off the season high of 26 fouls against Minnesota.
The next challenge for the Bulldogs is rival Wright State on Saturday night. The game is slated for an 8 p.m. tip on ESPN 2.