Bulldogs Stop UIC, 57-49
CHICAGO, ILL. -- Freshman Roosevelt Jones scored a career-high 16 points to spark the offense and Butler used a lock-down defensive effort to hand host UIC a 57-49 setback at the UIC Pavilion on Thursday (Jan. 19). The victory, on the opening game a of four-game road stretch, lifted the Bulldogs to 11-9 on the year and 5-3 in the Horizon League.
On a night when baskets were hard to come by, Jones converted a career-best six of 13 shots to lead all scorers in the game. He also hit a four of five free throws and added four rebounds and a steal.
But it was Butler's effort at the defensive end that ultimately sealed the outcome against a UIC team that had won six of eight previous home games. The Bulldogs limited the host squad to just three field goals in the first 39 minutes of the final period and just six field goals over the entire second half! Butler held UIC to 33% shooting overall and 15% shooting from the three-point arc, and the 49 total points were a season-low for the Flames!
"Defensively, we were very good," said Butler head coach Brad Stevens after the hard-fought game. "It reminded me of the game here my first year as a head coach, when A. J. Graves was here and we couldn't hit the broadside of the barn. But we just kept fighting and fighting and fighting and getting stops."
Butler scored the game's first five points, a basket by junior Andrew Smith and a three-point field goal by junior Chase Stigall, while holding UIC (6-12, 2-6 HL) scoreless for the first four minutes. But the Flames caught fire and used an 18-5 run to take an 18-10 lead midway through the opening period.
Jones (right) and freshman Kameron Woods, who came off the bench with eight points, helped the Bulldogs close the gap and eventually tie the game at 25-25 in the final minute of the first half. Jones then gave Butler a 28-25 halftime lead with a conventional three-point play in the final five seconds.
The Bulldogs were never headed in the final period, though the margin never reached double-figures. Butler took a nine-point lead, 35-26, on a lay-up by Jones seven minutes into the final period and matched that lead twice more before the end of the game. The Flames did close to within four points, 51-47, in the final minute, but two free throws each by senior Ronald Nored and freshman Jackson Aldridge and a dunk by Smith helped Butler stretch the final margin to eight.
Nored joined Jones in double-figures for the game with 10 points, and he led both teams with seven assists. Sophomore Khyle Marshall led both squads with 10 rebounds, including seven offensive boards, while helping Butler to a 39-33 rebounding advantage.
Junior Gary Talton and freshman Marc Brown led UIC with 11 points apiece, while junior Daniel Barnes added 10.
The Bulldogs will continue their road stretch with a game at Loyola on Saturday, Jan. 21. That contest will start at 1 p.m. (CT, 2 p.m. in Indianapolis) and will be televised as the Horizon League Network Game of the Week.