Butler (13-1) at Loyola Chicago (5-9)

Cloudy Currently: Chicago, IL
Temp: 40° F
  • Game info: 8:00 pm EST Mon Jan 7, 2008
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Butler has done plenty of traveling so far this season, but that hasn’t stopped the Bulldogs from matching the best start in school history.

The 14th-ranked Bulldogs will be trying for their sixth straight win on Monday when they visit Loyola of Chicago.

Butler (13-1, 2-1 Horizon League) has not lost since falling 43-42 on Dec. 8 at Wright State, the defending Horizon League champion. That is their only defeat this season, despite having played only four games at home.

Butler went 6-2 on the road in conference games last season. After Monday’s game at Loyola (5-9, 1-3), the Bulldogs return home to host Wisconsin-Green Bay and Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

They are coming off a 73-65 home win against Valparaiso on Saturday. The Bulldogs rank among the best teams in the country with 9.7 3-pointers made per game and are shooting 40.4 percent from beyond the arc.

However, they shot just 3-of-11 from 3-point range in the first half and got just five points from A.J. Graves, who entered the game as their leading scorer. Senior guard Mike Green helped pick up the slack, finishing with a career high-tying 24 points and taking over the team scoring lead with an average of 15.6 points.

Graves, who has failed to reach double figures in three of his last seven games, finished the game with a 15.5-point average.

“We guarded and when you’re playing games when you’re not hitting shots, you can still guard,” Green said. “We’d have been satisfied if the game was 32-31.”

The Bulldogs committed 10 turnovers and rank among the best in the nation with just 10.9 per game. They have not committed more than 15 turnovers in any game.

“When you’re not making shots, you’ve got to take good care of the basketball and most importantly believe in one another,” first-year coach Brad Stevens said. “You have to recognize there’s a lot of possessions in a basketball game and I think experience helps you recognize that.”

Butler has won 16 of its last 20 games against Loyola, but the teams split their two meetings last season, with each winning on the road. The Bulldogs’ 75-71 loss to the Ramblers on Feb. 22 was one of just three conference defeats in 2006-07.

Butler earned a measure of revenge with a 67-66 overtime win in the semifinals of the conference tournament.

The Ramblers have dropped four of their last five games, including Saturday’s 71-61 defeat at Youngstown State. Tracy Robinson led three double-digit scorers with a career-high 19 points, and J.R. Blount, who leads the team with 14.9 points per game, chipped in 16.

Blount has scored in double figures in all but two of his 14 games, but is averaging just 10.2 points in his last five.

Loyola is four games under .500 for the first time since 2004-05. Still, the Ramblers will be trying for their fourth straight win at home, where they are 4-3.

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