No. 18 Butler douses Flames 73-55

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — No. 18 Butler keeps winning games and breaking records.

The Bulldogs followed the pattern again Wednesday night.

Matt Howard scored 17 points and Ronald Nored added a career-high 16 leading the Bulldogs past Illinois-Chicago 73-55 for Butler's 16th straight win. The Bulldogs have matched Murray State for the nation's longest winning streak and broken the school record for consecutive victories.

The Bulldogs (24-4, 17-0 Horizon League) won 15 in a row during the 1999-2000 season and moved within one game of completing the first perfect conference season since Wisconsin-Green Bay went 16-0 in 1995-96.

The Flames (6-20, 2-14) were led by Robo Kreps with 15 points and Jeremy Buttell with 10, but couldn't avoid losing for 12th time in 13 games. Illinois-Chicago is now 0-14 on the road this season.

The Bulldogs, who have already clinched their fourth straight regular-season league title, have won 19 straight regular-season conference games and set a new league record with 17 Horizon League victories in a season.

And Butler made this one look easy after an awful start.

The Bulldogs started the game by making 6 of 21 shots from the field and trailed Illinois-Chicago 15-14 just 11 minutes into the game.

Not surprisingly, Butler's shooters didn't languish long against the Flames, who had only one win since New Year's Day.

Nored and swingman Willie Veasley finally sparked Butler, combining for all nine points in a first-half run, that turned the game and gave Butler a 23-15 lead. The Bulldogs still led 32-25 at the half, and wasted no time in putting away the Flames in the second half.

Butler used a 6-0 run to extend the lead to 49-34 and closed it out with a 13-0 spurt late in the second half, which made it 69-43. Illinois-Chicago couldn't get closer than the 18-point final margin the rest of the night.

Veasley finished with 11 points for Butler and Gordon Hayward had 11 points and 11 rebounds for his third straight double-double.

The Flames, meanwhile, shot just 31.4 percent from the field for the game.