INDIANAPOLIS (AP)—Pete Campbell gives Butler instant offense, especially from behind the 3-point line.
Campbell scored a season-high 17 points and the 18th-ranked Bulldogs hit a season-best 14 3-pointers in a 67-39 victory over Youngstown State on Wednesday night.
The 42 points on 3s, including 15 by Campbell, were enough to beat the Penguins.
“That’s what I was initially brought here to do. I’ve been a shooter. That’s my strength,” said Campbell, who transferred from IPFW in 2005 and sat out last season.
“I came out and didn’t want to force anything, though when I get a good look, that’s my job,” he said of his 6-of-10 shooting. “My teammates did a good job setting me up and the coaches ran a few plays to get me open.”
Campbell, whose previous high with Butler was 12 points, was 5-of-7 from long range. He has hit 16-of-25 3-pointers over the past four games.
“He’s a very capable shooter,” Butler coach Todd Lickliter said.
The Bulldogs (16-2, 4-1 Horizon League) made 14 of 24 3s and hit seven straight in a 4-minute stretch that broke the game open midway through the first half. Campbell hit all five of his 3-point tries in the first half.
“It’s my best shooting game (at Butler), for sure,” said Campbell, whose career high was 28 points with IPFW two years ago. “I’m getting a lot more looks because I’m getting used to the system, getting used to knowing how to find my shot in the system.”
The Bulldogs were 10-of-13 on 3s in taking a 42-18 halftime lead. They widened it to as many as 33 points with under 2 minutes left in the game.
“We shot well, but I thought we defended with great purpose. That was the key,” Lickliter said. “When Campbell’s catching it, that helps, too.”
Mike Green added 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Bulldogs, who stretched their home winning streak to 18 games.
Keston Roberts had 11 points for Youngstown State (8-11, 3-4).
“The way they defend, if they come out and shoot like that, you’re going to have a very long night,” Penguins coach Jerry Slocum said. “They’re probably, if not the best, one of the best defensive teams in the United States.
“Everybody talks about the 3-ball with them, but their success and the reason that separates them from anybody else in the country is they defend so well.”
Youngstown State shot 31 percent against Butler, which has held the past three visiting opponents to season-low point totals.
The Penguins, who have lost 11 of 13 games against Butler, trailed 13-7 after a 3-pointer by Quin Humphrey. A.J. Graves, back in the Butler lineup after missing the first game of his college career last week, then started the Bulldogs’ streak of 3-pointers. Campbell hit three in a row, Graves added one and Campbell hit his fourth straight, finishing an 18-5 run for a 31-12 lead.
Brandon Crone, who had 10 points, made a free throw for the Bulldogs’ first 20-point lead. Then, after two foul shots by Roberts, Julian Betko resumed Butler’s 3-point barrage to push the lead to 35-14. Youngstown State managed only four more free throws the rest of the first half.
Graves, Butler’s leading scorer for the season, had all four wisdom teeth removed last week. He sat out Saturday’s nonconference victory over South Dakota State, ending a streak of 72 consecutive starts. He entered the game after about 5 minutes, hit his two 3-pointers during 13 minutes in the first half and did not play this second half because of dehydration.
“Everything’s good there,” Lickliter said of the oral surgery, “but he’s depleted. He just needs to get rehydrated to where he should be.”