Two late free throws by senior guard Zach Hahn clinched a 65-63 win for Butler in its Horizon League-opener at Loyola last night.
The win may be a boost to the Bulldogs (4-2, 1-0) as they approach their rematch with Duke, which will be played this Saturday at 3:15 p.m. EDT in the IZOD Center in East Rutherford, N.J.
Although Butler only won by two points, they hardly ever trailed the Ramblers and were ahead by 10 at halftime.
And no matter how narrow the margin, Loyola’s loss makes for Butler’s 19th consecutive win against a Horizon League foe, with their last loss occurring March 10, 2009 against Cleveland State.
Senior forward Matt Howard and senior guard Zach Hahn led Butler in scoring with 15 points each.
While Hahn scoring from the perimeter is no surprise (three-for-four from behind the three-point line), Howard surprised Butler’s fans with his new-found jump shot and making both of the three-pointers he shot. The two long-range shots put Howard at 38 percent from three-point land on the season.
Butler racked up four more three-pointers and went nine-for-18 as a team. When the Bulldogs make at least nine three-pointers, they are 41-1 since Brad Stevens began coaching the Bulldogs.
Eight different Bulldogs contributed points thanks to quick and well-rehearsed ball movement, especially in the first half.
Freshman forward Kyle Marshall tied his season-high scoring record with nine, and sophomore guard Chase Stigall made two three-pointers in 21 minutes of play.
The Bulldogs also did all this without junior point guard Ronald Nored, who remains sidelined with a concussion that he incurred during a collision in the first half of Butler’s win at Siena.