Jan. 8, 2005
Butler turned in its poorest shooting performance in half a decade and fell to visiting UW-Green Bay, 57-50, in a Horizon League game at Hinkle Fieldhouse on Saturday, Jan. 8. The loss was the fourth in a row for the Bulldogs and dropped the Indianapolis squad to 5-7 on the year and 0-2 in league play. UW-Green Bay won its fifth straight game and improved to 10-3 on the year and 3-0 in the conference.
The Bulldogs were colder than the overnight snow that fell on Indianapolis. Butler, which entered the game as the top shooting team in the Horizon League, managed to his just .302 (16-53) from the field and a paltry .160 (4-25) from beyond the three-point arc. Four Butler starters combined to shoot 11% (3-27) from the field, and none of Butler's starters hit a three-point field goal!
It was Butler's worst shooting performance in the past 159 games. The last time the Bulldogs had a lower shooting percentage for a game was when Butler shot .281 (16-57) in a 43-36 victory over LaSalle in the 1999 Cable Car Classic!
"We shot some quick shots, but we also had shots that we're capable of making," said Butler head coach Todd Lickliter. "That was very uncharacteristic."
The Bulldogs struggled with shooting from the outset, but still managed to take a 23-21 halftime lead. Butler hit just 7 of 23 (.304) shots in the initial 20 minutes and that would turn out to be the good shooting half.
The Phoenix took the lead for good with a 5-0 scoring run midway through the second half and then sealed the decision with a 13-0 scoring run in the final six minutes. The Bulldogs hit just 9 of 30 field goal attempts (.300) in the final 20 minutes.
"Each game it appears to be a different problem. We deal with one and something else comes up," stated Lickliter. "When we were out in Arizona, we didn't defend well. The last two games we defended well, but against Milwaukee we couldn't rebound and today we couldn't make open shots."
Freshman A. J. Graves, Butler's leading scorer on the season, was 0-12 from the field for the game, including 0-6 from the three-point arc. Butler's other starting guard, Avery Sheets was 1-6 from the field, including 0-4 from the three-point line, and two other Butler starters combined to shoot 2-9 (.222) from the field.
Junior forward Brandon Polk hit eight of 12 shots and led all scorers in the game with a career-high 17 points, but he was the only Butler player to reach double-figures. Sophomore forward Brandon Crone grabbed a career-high 14 rebounds to help the Bulldogs stay even on the boards, 36-36, and he finished with eight points. Benito Flores came off the bench to lead UW-Green Bay with 15 points and nine rebounds.
Butler will play its next two games on the road, beginning with a visit to Loyola on Thursday, Jan. 13. The Bulldogs are looking for their first road victory of the 2004-05 season.