The Butler men’s basketball team pushed its winning streak to three games with a win over Horizon League opponent Loyola of Chicago Saturday afternoon.
The Bulldogs (12-9, 6-3) beat the Ramblers (5-15, 0-9) 63-57 to end a pivotal conference road trip that began with a 57-49 Butler victory over Illinois-Chicago earlier in the week.
Against Loyola, Butler looked to senior point guard and defensive leader Ronald Nored for a strong performance.
“Down the stretch, Loyola played really well, and I played with poise and toughness,” Nored said.
Nored did not disappoint, finishing one assist shy of a double-double with 16 points and nine assists.
The nine assists marked a career-best for Nored.
“I felt like Ron was the best player on the floor,” coach Brad Stevens said.
Butler’s big men were also key in the victory, as sophomore forward Khyle Marshall and junior center Andrew Smith scored 14 and 12 points, respectively.
Marshall shot 6-of-7 from the floor in the second half to erase a scoreless opening half.
“Instead of getting frustrated about it, I focused on the second half,” Marshall said.
Smith also collected 13 rebounds, giving him his third double-double of the season.
The Bulldogs went into halftime with a 25-23 lead, but they would fall into a 28-28 tie two and a half minutes into the second half.
At that point, Butler went on a 7-1 run to take the lead.
Sophomore guard Chrishawn Hopkins and freshman forward Kameron Woods hit field goals and junior guard Chase Stigall added a 3-point basket to fuel the run.
Following the surge, the Bulldogs would hold off the Ramblers the rest of the way and pick up the victory.
Loyola was led by senior forward Walt Gibler and freshman guard Joe Crisman with 14 points each.
In addition to having three players finish with double-digit points, Butler received 12 points off the bench from the duo of Hopkins and Woods.
The Bulldogs also shot 68.2 percent from the free-throw line, with Nored making all eight of his attempts.
The showing improved Butler’s team percentage from the free throw line to 62.0 percent.
The Bulldogs also had a strong performance defensively, recording nine blocks and five steals.
In the first game of the Chicago trip, Butler defeated UIC 57-49 behind a strong performance from freshman forward Roosevelt Jones.
Jones finished with 16 points and five rebounds before fouling out of the game.
Nored was the only other Bulldog in double figures, with 10 points and seven assists.
Despite shooting just 4-of-17 from beyond the arc, Butler got two triples from Woods, who came off the bench and finished with eight points.
The Flames (6-12, 2-6) pulled to within four points with 41 seconds remaining, but the Bulldogs hung on to grab a conference victory.
“You just have to play,” Stevens said. “[The Flames] did just that and fought through to the end of the game.”
Freshman guard Marc Brown and junior guard Gary Talton scored 11 points each to lead UIC.
Butler will move on from the Chicago trip and head to Wisconsin this week.
The Bulldogs will take on Wisconsin-Milwaukee (13-8, 6-3) Thursday before facing Green Bay (7-12, 3-6) Saturday.