Butler Downs Visiting Evansville
INDIANAPOLIS, IND. -- Seniors Andrew Smith and Rotnei Clarke each scored 20 points and sophomore Kameron Woods added his first double-double of the season to lead Butler to a 75-67 victory over visiting Evansville on Saturday, Dec. 22. The victory extended Butler's current winning streak to six in a row and gave the Bulldogs a perfect 5-0 mark against Indiana foes.
Smith scored 16 of his points in the second half, when the Bulldogs built as much as a 14-point lead over a team that had beaten Butler in each of the past two seasons. He finished the game hitting six of eight shots from the field, including one of two from beyond the three-point arc, and seven of nine from the free throw line. The 6-11 center added six rebounds, a team-high four assists, two blocked shots and one steal.
Clarke split his 20 point evenly between the two halves. He led both teams with a trio of three-point field goals, and he was perfect on five attempts from the charity stripe.
"These two guys kind of carried us and kept us afloat for most of the game," said Butler head coach Brad Stevens of his two senior scoring leaders."
Stevens also picked up a major contribution from Woods, who came off the bench with 10 points and a career-high 12 rebounds in 24 minutes. The 6-9 forward hit three of four shots from the floor and four of six from the free throw line.
"Kameron Woods was outstanding today," stated Stevens. "That was his best game in a few weeks."
The Bulldogs (9-2), coming off an 88-86 overtime win over #1 Indiana, started slowly in front of a season-high 9,190 people at Hinkle Fieldhouse. Evansville (7-5) jumped to a 4-0 lead behind baskets by Egidijus Mockevicius and Colt Ryan and then stretched that lead to 9-3 less than four minutes into the contest.
But Smith answered with a pair of baskets and Woods added one to fuel a 6-0 Butler run that tied the game for the first of four times in the first half. The Bulldogs broke the final tie at 17-17 with an 8-0 run to take the lead for good. Butler led 35-31 at halfime.
"They (Evansville) do a really good job of keeping you off balance," Stevens said of his team's start. "We didn't do a good enough job getting the ball inside for the first 30 minutes of the game, and once we did we kind of separated ourselves a little bit."
Butler opened the second half with a 13-5 run to take a 48-36 lead, and the Aces spent the rest of the contest playing catch-up. The Bulldogs led by as many as 14 points twice in the final five minutes, before a late Evansville rally trimmed the final margin to eight points.
Five Bulldogs scored in double-figures for the second consecutive game. Freshman Kellen Dunham came off the bench with 13 points, while sophomore Roosevelt Jones added 12, joining Smith, Clarke and Woods.
Senior Colt Ryan led Evansville with 25 points, five rebounds, five assists and five steals.
The Bulldogs, paced by Woods, out-rebounded the visitors, 39-29.
Butler will take a short break for Christmas, before returning to action at Vanderbilt on Saturday, Dec. 29.