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Wisconsin-Green Bay knocks off No. 11 Butler

Monday, February 2, 2009

By CHRIS JENKINS

AP Sports Writer

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Ryan Tillema scored 21 points and Wisconsin-Green Bay was almost perfect from the free-throw line in a 75-66 upset of No. 11 Butler on Monday.

Tillema scored 18 of his points in the second half for Green Bay (18-6, 10-2 Horizon League), which shot 32-for-35 from the free-throw line and didn't miss from the line until the final 9 minutes of the game.

Gordon Hayward had 22 points for Butler (19-2, 10-1), whose players had to watch as Green Bay students stormed the court after the final horn.

It's another surprising step for Green Bay, which has surged to a surprising second place in the Horizon League after opening up non-conference play with back-to-back losses.

With Monday's victory, Green Bay has a 3-27 record against ranked opponents. A victory over mid-major powerhouse Butler was almost as rare in recent years -- Green Bay came into Monday night's game having lost nine straight to the Bulldogs, with their last victory coming in January 2005.

But things appear to be heading upward, as Green Bay has won eight of its past nine games and came into Monday night leading the conference in scoring offense with an average of 72.2 points.

Green Bay also leads the conference in field goal percentage and 3-point percentage, but it was free-throw shooting that put it over the top on Monday.

Green Bay took control with a 10-2 run early in the second half -- with all of Green Bay's points coming at the free-throw line.

With Butler already trailing 38-36, Bulldogs leading scorer Matt Howard picked up his third foul on a 3-point attempt by Tillema. Tillema hit all three foul shots, and Terry Evans added another two free throws to put Green Bay up 43-36.

Tillema then picked up another foul on the 3-point attempt and sank another three free throws to extend the lead to eight.

Butler's Howard scored inside to end the run, but picked up his fourth foul on the other end and Mike Schachtner hit two free throws to give Green Bay a 48-38 lead.

The foul calls kept coming Green Bay's way, Butler couldn't sink a shot of its own and an upset appeared imminent.

Butler was called for yet another foul on a 3-point attempt as Ronald Nored was whistled for a foul on a 3-point shot by Troy Cotton. Cotton hit all three free throws, and Green Bay led 58-45 with just under seven minutes left in the game.

But Butler rallied with an 8-0 run, including three-point plays by Willie Veasley and Howard to cut the lead to 58-53 with 5:12 remaining.

Butler later cut the lead to four on a fast-break slam dunk by Gordon Hayward, but Nored fouled out and Tillema hit both free throws to put Green Bay up 63-57 with 3:17 left.

Cotton then hit a 3-pointer with 2:10 remaining, and Green Bay was 9-for-10 from the free-throw line in the final 1:25.

Green Bay led 30-28 at halftime, as Butler was 4-for-13 from 3-point range and committed 10 turnovers in the first half.



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