Bulldogs Hold Off Loyola, 63-57
CHICAGO, ILL. -- Senior Ronald Nored (right) had 16 points and a career-high nine assists and sophomore Khyle Marshall added 14 second-half points to help lead Butler past host Loyola on Saturday, Jan. 21. The Horizon League victory lifted the Bulldogs to 12-9 on the season and 6-3 in league play.
Nored had a hand in nearly everything the Bulldogs did against Loyola. He scored, finishing with a game-high total. He rebounded, pulling down six to help the Bulldogs to a 41-32 team rebounding advantage. He sparked the Bulldogs' defense with a game-high three steals. And he directed Butler offense against Loyola's 1-3-1 zone defense, rolling up seven of his nine assists in the second half.
"(Ronald's) poise in particular, handling the ball at the top and finding guys below the 1-3-1 really kind of helped us, as we were trading baskets late. At least we were scoring," said Butler head coach Brad Stevens after the win.
The 6-0 Butler guard also hit six of six free throws in the final minute to help seal the Bulldogs' third consecutive victory.
Marshall (left) was on the receiving end of several of Nored's passes. After going scoreless in the first 20 minutes, the 6-6 Butler forward hit six of seven shots in the final period. He scored Butler's first three points of the second half and then tallied 11 of 13 Butler points during a stretch in the final six minutes.
The Bulldogs, behind 6-11 center Andrew Smith, broke a 16-16 tie in the first half with a 9-1 run to take their biggest lead of the game. Smith started the run with a three-point field goal, and he later added a lay-up during the stretch.
Loyola (5-14, 0-9 HL) clawed back and cut Butler's margin to a single field goal, 25-23, at halftime.
"Scoring was obviously hard to come by," noted Stevens. "With the 1-3-1, we missed a lot of jump shots to be real candid and they put us on our heels with that a little bit."
The Ramblers did tie the game at 28-28 on a basket by Jonathon Gac less that three minutes into the second half, but the Bulldogs used a 7-1 run to take the lead back for good and stretch the margin to six, 35-29. The key basket in the run was a three-point field goal by junior Chase Stigall, his first of the game.
Loyola closed to within three points three times in the final four minutes, but each time Marshall answered with a basket. Butler scored its final eight points from the free throw line.
"The one thing I'll say is our guys played hard," Stevens noted of his squad's successful performance. "They played hard, they were focused. I think they were really good about preparing the right way."
Smith joined Nored and Marshall in double-figures with 12 points, all in the first half. He also led all players on both teams with a carer-high 13 rebounds, his third double-double of the season.
Walt Gibler and Joe Crisman led Loyola with 14 points apiece.
Butler will continue its stretch of four consecutive road contests with a game at Milwaukee on Thursday, Jan. 26. The Bulldogs will end the road stretch at Green Bay on Saturday, Jan. 28.