Nov. 27, 2004
Junior Bruce Horan and sophomore Jamie Smalligan each scored 16 points and junior Avery Sheets added 11 to lead Butler to a 61-48 victory over previously unbeaten Miami (Ohio) in a non-league game at Hinkle Fieldhouse on Saturday, Nov. 27. The victory kept Butler perfect on the young season with a 3-0 mark, while Miami dropped to 2-1.
Horan and Smalligan ignited an 18-2 scoring run to open the second half and give the Bulldogs command of the contest, which was tied at halftime, 21-21. Horan hit a pair of three-point field goals in the run, while Smalligan added five points. Freshman A. J. Graves contributed a three-pointer, while Sheets and sophomore Nick Brooks each had two in the decisive run.
"Butler played a wonderful game. I don't think I ever felt comfortable in the second half," said Miami coach Charlie Coles after the game. "(Butler) put on a clinic. I hate to be on the receiving end of that, but I am."
The first half clinic was a study in defensive tenacity, with both teams clawing and scratching on every possession. Miami, coming off season-opening wins over Purdue and at Xavier, had its biggest lead of the game at 17-12 with 3:50 left in the first period, before Butler closed with a 9-4 run to tie the game at halftime.
Smalligan opened the second half with a field goal to give the Bulldogs a 23-21 advantage, and Butler never trailed for the remainder of the game.
"Our guys were extremely focussed this week," said Butler head coach Todd Lickliter. "That first half was so competitive. You have two teams really going at it. In the second half we shot it better and got more comfortable."
Horan scored 12 of his points in the final 20 minutes and finished the game with five three-point field goals in 10 attempts. Sheets, who had a game-high eight assists in the contest, had nine of his 11 points after intermission. Smalligan split his points evenly between the two halves.
"Their guard play was the difference." stated Coles. "Sheets, Horan and Graves. We couldn't control them off the dribble. Smalligan did to us what we did to Purdue and Xavier."
The Bulldogs only shot 32% from the field in the first half, but rebounded with 52% shooting in the final 20 minutes. Butler limited Miami to 42% shooting for the game.
"I thought we were really defending throughout," added Lickliter. "We were making adjustments, and I was encouraged by our ability to make the adjustments."
Graves, who played 25 minutes with just one turnover, tallied a career-high 10 points in the game. Smalligan led the Bulldogs on the boards with six rebounds. Danny Horace topped the RedHawks with 16 points and 10 rebounds, while William Hatcher added 12 points.
The Bulldogs will play their next three games on the road, beginning with a trip to Ohio on Thursday, Dec. 2.