Nov. 11, 2006
Senior Brandon Crone led a balanced offensive effort with 18 points and Butler turned up the heat on the defensive end to overpower host Tulane, 77-37, in the season-opener for both teams on Friday, Nov. 10. It was the biggest margin of victory for a Butler team in a season-opener since 1997-98, when the Bulldogs defeated Indiana Wesleyan, 87-44, in the first game of the season.
The Bulldogs, playing their first-ever game in New Orleans, scored the first four points of the game and never looked back. Butler led 13-4 six minutes into the contest and 23-8 with less than 10 minutes gone. That margin stretched to 43-19 by halftime!
Butler limited their Conference USA foe to just eight field goals in the first 20 minutes of the game, and then held the Green Wave to just one more field goal in the first 12:30 of the second half! Tulane wound up shooting just 33% from the field and 10% from the three-point arc for the contest!
"We were very in tune defensively as a team," said Butler coach Todd Lickliter after the game. "They missed some shots, but we did a good job of guarding their sets."
The Bulldogs also did a good job of hitting open shots. Butler shot 52% from the field in the first half and then surpassed that effort by hitting at a 57% clip in the final 20 minutes! Lickliter's club put on a long-range shooting clinic, hitting 12 of 27 (.444) attempts from beyond the three-point arc. Butler had 20 assists on 30 field goals.
Crone jump-started Butler's offense with all 18 of his points in the first half. He hit seven of 13 shots from the floor, including four of seven from the three-point arc. The 18 points were the most for the Butler senior forward since last December when he matched that total against Elon.
Junior A. J. Graves chipped in with 13 points and a team-high five assists, while senior Marcus Nellems and junior Mike Green each added 10 points. Nellems came off the bench with a career-high eight rebounds, three assists and one steal in 29 minutes. Butler had a 38-24 rebounding advantage in the game.
The Bulldogs will return to Indianapolis to begin play in the NIT Season Tip-Off at Conseco Fieldhouse on Monday and Tuesday, Nov. 13-14. Butler faces Notre Dame at 6 p.m., on Monday in the first round of the tournament.