Jan. 29, 2007
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Getting its starters some needed rest was Butler's motivation and its reward.
"That was pretty important," Campbell, the Bulldogs' top reserve and a 3-point specialist, said of the shared playing time in which all 12 players saw action. "It kind of feels like we're in the NBA now. You get an understanding how those guys feel playing a game every other night.
"But enough of us did our jobs so the starters could get some rest. It was just a good team effort," Campbell said.
The Bulldogs (20-2, 8-1 Horizon League), reaching 20 victories in the fewest number of games in school history, finish their busy stretch Wednesday night at Youngstown State. Butler beat Youngstown 67-39 two weeks ago.
Against UIC, the Bulldogs hit their first five field goals, 3-pointers by five different players, took a 39-16 lead at halftime, built it to as many as 33 points in the second half and coasted the rest of the way, easily avenging their only conference loss of the season.
Nobody played more than 29 minutes for Butler.
"I hope that's the case," coach Todd Lickliter said of the benefit of being able to rest his players. "That's the way we saw it at the time. We thought it would be a good thing. There's been a lot of travel."
The Flames (9-14, 4-5) upset Butler 73-67 in overtime in Chicago on Jan. 10, when Bulldogs scoring leader A.J. Graves had just two points in the first half en route to his career-high 31. This time, Graves had all six of his points in the opening half - two 3-pointers that moved him past his brother, Matt, for sixth place (175) in Butler career 3-pointers - and did not take a shot in the second half as the Bulldogs had plenty of scoring elsewhere.
Green finished with eight rebounds and six assists, and Willie Veasley had eight points.
Othyus Jeffers led UIC with 17 points and 11 rebounds.
"This team obviously demanded our respect," Lickliter said. "All you can do is learn from it, and we did."
Butler's ball movement consistently produced open shots. The Bulldogs had assists on 11 of their 12 first-half baskets, nine of them 3-pointers.
Green assisted on Butler's first four baskets, all of them 3s. He also had two free throws, a layup and another assist during a 12-0 run that broke the game open late in the opening period.
"The results were a little different tonight," said assistant UIC coach Mark Coomes, subbing for ailing coach Jimmy Collins, who has been away from the team since December. "They dominated us.
"I don't think it was a matter of them doing things differently. It's us," he said of the difference between their earlier meeting. "Right now, we're in a bad shooting slump. We need to be more patient. And our confidence is a little low right now."
The Flames, who held Butler to a season-low 32.9 percent shooting in their first matchup, continued their recent scoring problems, losing their fifth straight game.
Second in the conference in scoring at more than 70 points a game, UIC did not get a field goal the first five minutes and went 3-for-17 as Butler streaked ahead 31-7. After a steal, layup and free throw by Robert Bush made it 31-10, Butler fans began a mocking chant of "Double-digits!"
Two straight baskets by Josh Mayo cut Butler's lead to 17 points, but the Flames' comeback didn't last long.
Veasley hit two free throws and Campbell hit two 3-pointers during an 8-2 run that widened the Bulldogs' lead to 39-16 at the half. Butler started the second half with a spinning layup and 3-pointer by Green and took its biggest lead at 54-21 on the fifth 3-pointer by Campbell.
The Flames, shooting just 29.6 percent for the game, never came closer than 26 points the rest of the way.