Second Half Lifts Butler Past Detroit, 66-51
INDIANAPOLIS, IND. -- Junior Shelvin Mack single-handedly out-scored visiting Detroit in the final 20 minutes and Butler pulled away to a 66-51 Horizon League victory at Hinkle Fieldhouse on Saturday (Feb. 12). The win was Butler's fourth straight and lifted the Bulldogs into a tie for third place in the league standings.
Mack helped the Bulldogs overcome a seven-point deficit by unleashing the highest scoring performance by a Butler player in more than a decade! The 6-3 guard finished with a career-high 32 points, including 24 in the second half. Detroit, as a team, scored 17 points in the final 20 minutes.
The last time a Butler player scored more points was in January of 1998, when current Associate Head Coach Matthew Graves tallied 42 points in a game at Cleveland State.
Mack ignited an 11-2 run to start the second half, taking the Bulldogs from a 34-29 halftime deficit to a 40-36 lead. He didn't let up. He scored the first seven points and the last three of a 13-1 Butler run that extended the Bulldogs' lead to 60-47 with just over three minutes remaining.
Mack's final tally was the most points by a Butler player in a victory since Jan. 23, 1997, when Jon Neuhouser scored 32 points in a win at Northern Illinois.
"I think my teammates did a great job of finding me when I was open," said Mack. "I just tried to take advantage of my opportunities."
Butler (18-9, 10-5 Horizon League), struggling to find its collective shooting touch, trailed for much of the first half, trailing by as many as seven points, 31-24. Butler was out-rebounded in the first half, had more turnovers than the visitors and was out-scored at the free throw line, 13-4
Those statistics turned in the final 20 minutes, with Butler piling up a 38-24 rebounding advantage, including a 16-4 advantage on the offensive glass. The Bulldogs had four less turnovers than Detroit in the final period and Butler out-scored the visitors, 10-4, at the free throw line.
The Bulldogs out-scored Detroit, 34-17, in the final 20 minutes.
"I thought the biggest key to the game and what got us going and probably the reason why we won the game was going to the glass at the start of the second half," said Butler head coach Brad Stevens. "I thought the effort going to the glass got us some second chance points, got us the ball back and allowed us to work more clock."
Senior Matt Howard, returning to action after missing Butler's victory over Wright State with a mile concussion, led the Bulldogs' rebounding effort with a game-high 12 caroms, including four offensive rebounds. Sophomore Andrew Smith added eight rebounds and Mack had six.
Mack wound up hitting nine of 18 shots, including six of 11 from beyond the three-point arc, and all eight of his free throw attempts to compile his game-high total. Senior Shawn Vanzant added 12 points, and Howard finished with nine.
Junior Nick Minnerath and freshman Ray McCallum led Detroit (14-14, 8-8 HL) with 11 points apiece.
The win left Butler tied with Milwaukee for third place in the league, behind league-leading Valparaiso (10-3) and second place Cleveland State (11-4). The top two teams in the final league standings get a bye to the semifinals of the Horizon League Tournament, which will be hosted by the No. 1 seed.
Butler will take its four-game winning streak on the road for a pair of league tests this week. The Bulldogs will visit Green Bay on Tuesday (Feb. 15) and then travel to UIC on Saturday (Feb. 19).