Saturday , Dec , 09 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Butler takes aim at 11th straight win

Terre Haute, IN (Sports Network) – The 15th-ranked Butler Bulldogs try to add
to their already amazing early season run tonight, when they take on the
Indiana State Sycamores in non-league play from the Hulman Center.

The Bulldogs have been one of the best stories in college basketball to
this point, as they have not only won all 10 of their outings, but they also
claimed the NIT Season Tip-Off championship at Madison Square Garden. The 10
consecutive wins to open the season marks Butler’s third-best start in
school history and it includes a 65-41 pounding of Ball State on Wednesday. It
was the 14th straight home win by the Bulldogs, who protected their highest
ranking since 1948-49 when they were tabbed 11th in the nation for three
straight weeks.

As for Indiana State, it enters this tilt riding its first losing streak of
the season at two games. The team was last in action a week ago when it
suffered a 73-70 loss in overtime at Ball State. With the setback, the
Sycamores slipped to 4-3 overall, although that does include a perfect 3-0
mark at home.

In terms of the all-time series between these two schools, Butler owns a 66-55
advantage, but the Sycamores have won the past two meetings.

The Bulldogs aren’t the most talented team around, but they are one of the most
intelligent and balanced and that is why they have had so much success early
on. The team has not only fared well at the offensive end (68.3 ppg), but the
defensive end as well, allowing just 54.5 ppg. A.J. Graves has been a factor at
each end of the floor for Butler, as he leads the team in scoring (17.6 ppg)
and steals (18). Mike Green has provided a nice complement to him and he is
turning in 14.3 ppg and a team-high 5.1 rpg to go along with 17 steals. In the
squad’s last game, Green poured in a career-high 21 points and collected six
caroms in leading Butler to an easy win over Ball State. Graves posted 11
points and two steals for Butler, which converted 21-of-23 free-throw attempts,
in addition to holding Ball State to a pathetic 29.8 percent shooting
performance from the field.

The Sycamores have been about average this season, as they are netting 65.6 ppg
and giving up a nearly identical 63.1 ppg. Gabe Moore currently leads the team
in scoring at 13.4 ppg and he is also handing out 3.6 apg. Jay Tunnell follows
with 11.3 ppg to go along with 6.1 rpg, while Marico Stinson chips in with 11.0
ppg. In the team’s previous contest, Tunnell notched a double-double with 20
points and 12 rebounds and Moore turned in 19 points, but that still wasn’t
enough for ISU in an overtime loss to Ball State. The Sycamores turned the ball
over 21 times and that proved to be too much to overcome despite them shooting
a solid 53.2 percent from the field.