Bulldogs try to take a bite out of surging Ramblers
Indianapolis, IN (Sports Network) – Seeking their first win over a ranked
opponent since 1986, the Loyola-Chicago Ramblers hit the road to battle the
15th-ranked Butler Bulldogs in Horizon League action.
Loyola is also in search of its first seven-game winning streak since the
1991-92 campaign, as it has currently won six straight to move to 19-9
overall and 9-5 in the league. All but one of the wins during the current
streak has come by double figures, including a 66-43 romp over Eastern
Illinois on Saturday in non-conference action.
Butler knocked off Wisconsin-Green Bay on Monday by a 68-58 final to improve
to 25-4 overall and 12-2 in the league. Still, the Bulldogs trail Wright State
by half a game in the standings, as the Raiders are 13-2 against Horizon
foes with only one conference game remaining.
Butler posted a thrilling 70-66 overtime victory over Loyola-Chicago on
January 25th, and the Bulldogs own a 42-28 lead in the all-time series. It
is certainly worth mentioning that the Ramblers have lost 17 straight
decisions at Hinkle Fieldhouse.
It is hard to imagine Loyola playing any better at the defensive end than it
did against Eastern Illinois on Saturday, as it limited the Panthers to 28.8
percent shooting from the floor. The Ramblers, who shot 41 percent overall,
committed six fewer turnovers than their counterparts and pulled down seven
more rebounds. Majak Kou was outstanding in the triumph, as he tallied 20
points on 8-of-13 efficiency from the field, including 4-of-7 from behind the
arc. His effort overshadowed a six-point performance from standout forward
Blake Schilb. Through 28 games, Schilb is scoring 15.6 ppg, and Kou checks in
with 13.5 ppg. The Ramblers are netting 70.7 ppg, while holding opponents to
Butler is not an explosive offensive team by any means, as it is scoring a
mediocre 69.3 ppg on 43.9 percent shooting from the floor. Fortunately, the
team excels at the defensive end, limiting foes to 56.9 ppg on 40 percent
overall shooting. An obvious key for the Bulldogs is that they have forced 121
more turnovers than they have committed, as they average fewer than 10
giveaways per contest. A.J. Graves is shooting just 38.5 percent from the
filed this season, but the excellent free throw shooter paces Butler with 17.2
ppg. Mike Green adds 14.2 ppg, and Brandon Crone is contributing 10.7 ppg. In
the win over UW-Green Bay, Graves scored 20 points and Crone added 17 points.
The Bulldogs committed a mere six turnovers and forced 12 miscues.