Horizon League foes meet in Windy City
Chicago, IL (Sports Network) – The 12th-ranked Butler Bulldogs have been one of
the nation’s most surprising teams, and they will attempt to add another win
to their impressive record as they battle the Illinois-Chicago Flames in
Horizon League action.
Butler currently owns its highest ranking in more than half a century, and the
team is 14-1 overall, including 3-0 against league foes. The Bulldogs have
recorded four straight wins since their lone defeat of the season, and eight-
point setback to Indiana State on the road. Last Saturday, they had no problem
cruising by Wright State, 73-42.
Illinois-Chicago is set to welcome just its third ranked opponent to UIC
Pavilion in the last 17 years. The Flames are just 7-9 overall, but they do own
a 2-1 record in conference. Ironically, UIC’s last game also came against
Wright State on Thursday and ended in a 76-62 defeat.
Butler has won its last three meetings with UIC to extend its lead to 21-10 in
the all-time series between the teams.
Butler dominated every important aspect of Saturday’s game against Wright
State. The Bulldogs finished with 19 assists against 10 turnovers and earned a
32-23 rebounding advantage. They also outscored the Raiders 15-9 from the foul
line and limited Wright State to 37.5 percent shooting from the floor. A.J.
Graves led Butler in scoring with 19 points, and Pete Campbell pitched in a
dozen. As for Drew Streicher, he contributed 10 points in a reserve role.
Graves is averaging a team-high 18.0 ppg this season, and while he is only
shooting 38.9 percent from the floor, he has knocked down 80-of-81 free throws.
Mike Green is second in scoring with 14.5 ppg, and Brandon Crone is
contributing 10.0 ppg. The fact that the three top scorers for the Bulldogs are
all shooting below 40 percent from the floor is surprising, especially
considering the team’s success. Strong defense has been the key, as Butler is
limiting foes to just 55.9 ppg on 40.5 percent shooting from the field.
Illinois-Chicago is the second-highest scoring team in the Horizon League (72.6
ppg), and the club is netting 76.8 ppg in its own building. Without question,
the best player on the team is Othyus Jeffers, as the standout swingman is
averaging just over 16.0 ppg to go along with 8.9 rpg. He scored 19 points
against Wright State in the most recent game for the Flames, but he only pulled
down four boards in the clash, and UIC suffered a 36-24 disadvantage on the
glass. T.J. Gray pitched in 14 points for the Flames, and Robert Bush had 11
points off the bench. Defensively, UIC permitted Wright State to shoot 54.7
percent from the field, an obvious contributing factor in the loss.