Butler Defeats Cleveland State for Horizon League Title

Robert RozborilContributor IMarch 2, 2009

No. 23-ranked Butler seemed to be the favorite to win Saturday's Horizon League Championship game versus unranked Cleveland State.  However, the Vikings gave them a run for their money and kept things interesting down to the final minutes.

Butler was electric, shooting 56 percent from the field, led by Willie Veasley, who contributed 16 points for the day. 

But Cleveland State stayed right with them, relying on tight defense and some aggressive shooting of their own.  Norris Cole led the charge on offense with 17 points, while J'Nathan Bullock crashed the boards for 12 rebounds to lead both teams. 

Butler definitely left the door open for the Vikings most of the game.  As lights-out as the Bulldogs were in the paint, they looked like they were shooting blindfolded from three-point range and the free-throw stripe. 

The Vikings, on the other hand, shot better from long-range than down low!  Collectively, they were 41.2 percent from three-point land and 40.4 percent on field goals.  They also made 77.8 percent of their free-throw opportunities.

Cleveland State also turned to their bench a lot more than Butler, accounting for eight points in 45 minutes of play compared to Butler's bench, which only yielded two points in 24 minutes on the court.

This game was Butler's to lose and they very easily could have if the Vikings had taken better advantage of the Bulldogs' mistakes.  However, this is not the case and Cleveland State will just have to try and capture the Horizon League Title next year.