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Valpo Clinches No. 1 seed, Butler; Green Bay Fete Seniors with Wins Release  Bill Potter · @ · February 22, 2012

Men’s Basketball Scoreboard
Butler 69, UIC 44
Valparaiso 66, Loyola 62 (ot)
Green Bay 71, Cleveland State 67

It was a night of high drama in the Horizon League. While Butler was celebrating its seniors, Valparaiso and Green Bay took wins in nail-biting fashion, with the Crusaders wrapping up the No. 1 seed  for the Horizon League Men’s Basketball Championship.

Valparaiso 66, Loyola 62 (ot)
Pushed to the brink, Valparaiso turned it on in the second half of overtime to get past Loyola, 66-62, in overtime at the ARC. The victory gave the Crusaders their first men’s basketball regular season title since joining the Horizon League.

Valparaiso (20-10, 13-4 Horizon) technically clinched the No. 1 seed and hosting responsibilities for the second round and semifinals of the Horizon League Championship about 10 minutes before Matt Kenney’s three-pointer at the halfway point of overtime put the Crusaders ahead, but the intensity at the ARC made it feel as if everything were still on the line.

The Crusaders trailed, 56-54, after a Denzel Brito layup, but after the teams traded scoreless possessions, Kenney’s pass fake left him wide open on the left wing, and the junior buried the triple to put Valpo up by a point.

The bucket appeared to put some wind into the Crusaders’ sails, as Will Bogan would score four straight points to put Valpo up, 61-57, with just over a minute to play, and the Crusaders would hit 5-of-6 free throws to seal the result.

Ryan Broekhoff clinched the win with two freebies, and it seemed appropriate, as the junior carried Valpo throughout the game, finishing with 17 points and 11 rebounds, his 12th double-double of the year.

Down 26-24 at the half, Loyola would use a three from Brito and a Ben Averkamp jumper to spark a 10-2 half-opening run as the Ramblers staked claim to a 34-28 lead. But the Crusaders would scratch and claw their way back and tie the game at 38 on a three-pointer by Broekhoff, one of 10 Crusader threes on the night.

The remainder of regulation would be a back-and-forth affair and Broekhoff’s two free throws with 1:01 showing on the clock put Valpo on top, 54-52. However, a foul charged to Erik Buggs on Loyola’s next possession sent Averkamp to the line and the reigning Horizon League Player of the Week calmly drained both charity tosses to knot the score at 54-54 with 29 ticks left on the clock.

Broekhoff’s three-pointer as the final horn sounded drew iron, but ultimately came up short, sending the game into overtime.

Averkamp carried the Ramblers throughout, finishing with 21 points. Brito added 12, while Christian Thomas chipped in 10. Bogan joined Broekhoff in double figures with 16, while Kevin Van Wijk returned to the lineup to record 12 points on 6-of-10 shooting.

Butler 69, UIC 44
Butler's 2012 senior class went out in style with a commanding 69-44 win over UIC at Hinkle Fieldhouse. Playing in their last regular season home game, seniors Ronald Nored and Garrett Butcher combined for 16 points in the Bulldogs' fifth straight victory.

The win sent Butler (18-12, 11-6 Horizon) into sole possession of second place in the Horizon League. With one game remaining in their regular season, the Bulldogs lead Cleveland State and Detroit by one-half game for the No. 2 seed in the Horizon League Tournament.

With Butcher starting in place of Erik Fromm, Butler wasted no time setting the tone, jumping out to a 23-7 lead.

The Bulldogs limited UIC (8-19, 3-13 Horizon) to 1-of-10 shooting to start the game and took a 32-22 lead into the locker room.

Roosevelt Jones scored nine points and pulled down nine rebounds in the first half. Jones finished with 13 points and 10 boards, making him the first Bulldog to record four double-doubles as a freshman.

Butler continued its strong play into the second half as Chrishawn Hopkins got the Hinkle Fieldhouse crowd to its feet with a behind the back pass that resulted in a dunk by Andrew Smith. Hopkins finished with 10 points, his third consecutive game in double figures.

While Hopkins and Jones had strong performances, the spotlight was on seniors Butcher and Nored.

With 3:05 remaining Butcher drained a 17-foot jump shot to give the Bulldogs a 65-40 lead. Less than 30 seconds later, Nored stole the ball and raced past the Flames' defense for a lay-up to give Butler its largest lead of the game (27).

Following the play, Butler head coach Brad Stevens simultaneously subbed Butcher and Nored out of the game, allowing the Hinkle Fieldhouse crowd a chance to recognize the two seniors.

Butcher and Nored have contributed to 105 Butler wins, third most by any senior class in Butler men's basketball history. The two have also played a part in three Horizon League championships and two appearances in the national championship game.

Nored finished as one of four Bulldogs in double figures, posting 12 points. Smith matched Hopkins with 10 points. Gary Talton led UIC with 13 points, while Darrin Williams added 11.

Green Bay 71, Cleveland State 67
In a game that featured 19 lead changes, it was Green Bay emerging with a hard-fought 71-67 win over Cleveland State, keeping the Phoenix in the running for a home game and extending the Vikings’ late-season misery.

Green Bay (13-14, 8-8 Horizon) reached the .500 mark in League play, improving to 12-2 at the Resch Center. With two games left in the regular season, the Phoenix sit one game behind Youngstown State and Milwaukee for the final spots to host a first round tournament game.

Meanwhile, a banged-up Cleveland State (20-9, 10-6 Horizon) squad lost its grip on a first-round bye; the Vikings now sit one-half game behind Butler for second place and will host Detroit, with whom CSU is tied for third, in a key League game on Thursday.

The Vikings led, 57-53, following a three-pointer from Marlin Mason with 6:46 to go, but Green Bay would score 10 of the game’s next 15 points to assume a narrow 63-62 edge by the under-four minute media timeout.

At that point, Green Bay would hit the last of its 10 three-pointers, getting triples from Kam Cerroni and Terry Johnson on consecutive possessions to go up, 69-64, with 1:50 remaining.

However, Cleveland State would not go quietly, as Tim Kamczyc hit a three out of a timeout to slice the deficit to two. After a missed free throw, the Vikings had three chances to tie the game or take the lead, but missed two three-pointers and the front end of a one-and-one.

The final chance, a Trey Harmon three-point attempt, glanced off the rim, with Anton Grady fouling Cerroni in the scramble for the loose ball. Cerroni would hit both free throws to provide the final margin.

For much of the night, Grady carried the Vikings, coming off the bench to lead all scorers with 23 points and eight rebounds as he cemented his All-Newcomer credentials. Kamczyc added 14 and Harmon 13.

Cerroni, coming off the bench in place of senior Eric Valentin, who earned the Senior Night start, led Green Bay with 17 points, connecting on 5-of-8 triples to extend his Horizon League-leading percentage. Keifer Sykes joined him in double figures with 13, while Brennan Cougill added 10.

Tags: Butler - Men's Basketball · Cleveland State - Men's Basketball · Green Bay - Men's Basketball · Horizon League - Men's Basketball · Loyola - Men's Basketball · UIC - Men's Basketball · Valparaiso - Men's Basketball

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