POSTED: 8:12 p.m. HST, Dec 22, 2010
LAST UPDATED: 8:45 p.m. HST, Dec 22, 2010
Matt Howard scored 23 points to lead Butler past Utah 74-62 in Game 3 of the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic at the Stan Sheriff Center.
Last year's national-runner ups (7-4) gained control of the game midway through the first half and fended off the Runnin' Utes (7-4), who mounted a handful of charges in the second half but were blunted each time.
"I thought we were locked in, we went on one run, and played even for the rest of the game," Butler coach Brad Stevens said.
If host Hawaii manages to beat Florida State in the final game of the night, the Rainbow Warriors take on Butler tomorrow at 5 p.m. Should UH lose, it faces Utah at 7:30 p.m.
Stevens thought there was plenty room for improvement.
"We weren't very good offensively tonight, and I think we're going to have to be a lot better against who we play next," he said.
Utah of the Mountain West Conference cut it to 48-41 with 12:20 to play and 63-55 with 3:41 left, but the Bulldogs of the Horizon League took excellent care of the ball with just seven turnovers.
Ronald Nored added 16 points, Shelvin Mack 13 and Khyle Marshall 11 for the Bulldogs.
Utah center David Foster posted a tournament-record seven blocks in the loss. Forward Will Klyburn had 16 points and 12 rebounds, while Josh Watkins had a team-high 17 points