No. 23 Butler beats Wright St. to win 12th in row
INDIANAPOLIS (AP)—Willie Veasley and Butler both had milestone nights.
Veasley had a career-high 19 points to lead No. 23 Butler to a school-record 13th win to start the conference season with a 74-62 victory Saturday over Wright State.
“We had a lot of high-percentage shots, wide open shots as well as layups,” Veasley said. “That’s just credit to the coaches and them picking the plays and picking what will help us best.”
Matt Howard finished with 12 points and Gordon Hayward scored 11 for the Bulldogs (20-4, 13-0 Horizon League), who have won 12 straight overall for the fourth-longest streak in program history.
Vaughn Duggins had 18 points and N’Gai Evans scored 14 for the Raiders (15-9, 8-5), who dropped their sixth straight game to Butler and had their four-game winning streak snapped.
The Bulldogs scored 10 of the first 12 points of the second half to cap a 16-2 run after they finished the first half by scoring the last six points. Shelvin Mack’s layup extended the lead to 45-31 with 16 minutes to play.
Butler went ahead 52-36 on Zach Hahn’s 3-pointer, but Duggins’ 3 got the Raiders within 10 midway through the half. The Bulldogs answered with Howard’s three-point play and Mack’s basket to regain the momentum.
Butler made 27 of 40 overall 4 of 11 from beyond the arc, falling short of Bulldogs record of 69.7 percent against Illinois State in December 1993.
“I’m a big believer in the law of averages, and we shot enough bricks to build houses the last two games,” Butler coach Brad Stevens said. “We were just fortunate tonight that more fell. We got pretty good looks and these guys did a good job of finishing with authority at the rim.”
The first half had 10 lead changes and nine ties and neither team led by more than six points. Butler, which shot 65 percent, scored the final six of the half to open a 35-29 advantage.
“I thought we played well for 18 minutes and the game got away from us in the last two minutes of the first half,” Raiders coach Brad Brownell said. “The first five minutes of the second half they scored seven out of eight possessions or something along those lines … and then you’re trying to battle back against a team that’s just too good.”
Butler shot nearly 68 percent for the game and had more turnovers (17) than missed field goals (13) for the first time this season.